I watch HBO Hard Knocks, a show that follows an NFL team through its training camp, covering the team’s preparation for the upcoming football season.  This season, the Detroit Lions are featured.

The head coach Dan Campbell was walking among his team and said: “We are who we are. We choose who that is.”

It’s a rich insight.  “We are who we are.” It means we are going to act according to our skill set and talents.  We have a character that people grow to respect.  We have a work ethic that people learn to expect.  We develop a level of trustworthiness that can be counted on.  If we aren’t prepared, no one should be surprised when we fall short.

That’s where the second part, “We choose who that is” comes in. Choices impact who we are.  We choose the skills we develop. We choose the direction we pursue.  We make choices about the preparation we take on.

Use “tour-ready” as an example.  If we are “tour-ready” today, it’s because you chose to do it last week.  You determined what tour-ready looks like.  You identified the points of emphasis.  You maintain that standard every day because you never know when the tour is coming your way.  You have determined to be ready.

We don’t do tour-ready for the tourists.  Being proud on a tour is a fringe benefit.  We do tour-ready because it makes things go better every single day.  We perform like champions when our housekeeping is excellent, and our safety standards are high.  We exceed customer expectations when we keep our equipment in top condition and produce quality that delights them.  You don’t wander into that.  You choose it.

“We are who we are. We choose who that is.”