The motto “Show up, suit up, shut up, and play hard” is a good guide for success on and off the field. I first saw this motto on the blackboard of my father’s high school wrestling room. He was a longtime teacher and coached baseball and wrestling at the high school and college levels. I used to go with him to Saturday morning wrestling practices and see that motto year after year. It was never erased. The more I played sports, the more I realized the true meaning of that motto. I believe the principles behind the words give a better understanding of why people succeed in anything they do. The following is a little bit of how I interpret each line of the motto:
Show Up: Successful people show up. Just showing up is half the battle. We all have many distractions that pull us in many directions but winners still show up. They also show up on time. They are on time not because they are told to but because they know it is the right thing to do for themselves and others. They also show up ready to work. They don’t coast or go on autopilot. With the game on the line, winners show up and make their presence known. They don’t shy away from the difficult or challenging. They run toward it.
Suit Up: Winners look the part also. They wear the uniform correctly out of respect for the game, their team, their family, and themselves. They understand that success in anything you do is in the small details, right down to how you tie your shoes or wear your hat. They understand that wearing a uniform is an honor that won’t last forever. They understand that how you act in your uniform is just as important as how you play in that uniform.
Shut Up: Winners know that talk is cheap. Sooner or later, you have to perform. They realize that if you have to tell someone how good you are, there may be a reason why they don’t already know. However, winners are not silent. They know when to speak and when to listen. They understand that the key to learning is to do more listening than talking. They are not afraid to ruffle some feathers when someone is lacking discipline or needs to focus. They also know when a pat on the back is better suited.
Play Hard: A strong work ethic is probably the most important trait of successful people. They don’t work hard just to get something in return. They work hard simply for the sake of working hard. It is part of who they are. They understand that hard work is a skill just like hitting or throwing a baseball is a skill. They also know where to direct their hard work and make adjustments when needed. They work and play hard because each day of small improvements eventually adds up to big things. They understand the “termite analogy“ : “The danger of termites lie not in their size nor their intelligence. They have the time and they never stop working.”