It may sound a little cliché but growing up in Northeast Ohio, LeBron James put it best “nothing is given, everything is earned”.  Now I can’t speak for other areas of the state, let alone the country, but what I can speak to is the discipline, work ethic, and leadership characteristics my hometown instilled in me.  People always like to knock Cleveland and kick us while we were down, not knowing that all the outside noise did was make us work harder, develop teamwork, and create discipline led behaviors that allowed us to whether the storm and overcome adversity.  If there is one thing Cleveland knows it is how to get up every time we fall, and well, you can only do that through discipline.

I learned at a young age that hard work is and never would be enough, you had to also have a driving passion and the discipline to achieve great things and make an impact.  Growing up there was no question whether you would be at school on time, whether you would perform in the classroom or give anything less than 100% on the ball field, it just was not an option. These rules also didn’t ring hollow, I can count on one hand the number of times my father called off of work my entire childhood, if you eliminate the times where I was the one sick it may in fact be zero.  To my father, if you committed to something whether it was school, work, sports, or your word, you were expected to fulfill that commitment regardless whether you enjoyed it or not.  My parents taught me that you are never guaranteed to be the most talented individual in the room, but you can control being the hardest working individual in the room, displaying the discipline traits that will accumulate over time making you a more diverse and valuable individual.

Fast forward to high school, the lessons and disciplines manufactured throughout football multiplied by hundreds.  As they continuously try to make football a safer sport, the one rule I completely disagree with was the decision to move away from true “two-a-days” practices.  Two-a-days would separate the disciplined from the undisciplined.  It didn’t take long to realize who took care of their bodies, ate healthy, went to bed on time, and fully comprehended the playbook when your body and mind were fatigued…did I mentioned there were also coaches to deal with?  Football, and sports for that matter, have the tremendous opportunity of also teaching the true meaning of accountability, to oneself, to coaches, and to the team.  Traits like accountability, work ethic, and discipline are transferable traits inside and outside of sports or the work place.  Individuals who possess these traits don’t find themselves living the life they imagined by accident.

Lastly, passion is the trait that can single handily prevent you from accomplishing your goals.  The above listed traits: discipline, work ethic, and accountability can only take you so far, it is passion which separates individuals.  It’s not difficult to notice our passions, what’s difficult is applying our passions to our life and career goals.

A few months ago I was in a rut at work and started to truly dive into the question: what are my passions and how can I begin living them out?  Well, that was why EM2 was started and we have launched the website.  If you couldn’t tell my passions have always revolved around discipline, mindset, accountability, and leadership through reading and continuous growth.  Solely having these passions were not enough for me, I wanted to begin opening individuals to endless opportunities and possibilities through realizing their ability to control their fate through their daily disciplines and characteristics.

I now reside in the South and I am forever grateful for the accumulation of discipline led examples my hometown provided in assisting me with finding my “why”.