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Caring Deeply to the Third Level

In studying high achievers from all walks of life as part of my work during my 23 years of TV News and Sports, I found that one word is critical to peak performance.




There are three levels of care. The third one fuels Peak Performance.


I was sitting on the couch with my wife Nancy watching a DVD she had rented. The previews of other films were being shown. One preview was of a film that focused on a preacher man from the 1700’s or so who had ended up in a time machine and sent to today’s world.


Poor Fella. I’ll bet he was ready to go right back when he got a glimpse of today’s world!


Apparently he had been in today’s rip roaring world for a couple of weeks, so he was somewhat used to cars and planes and microwaves and Brittany Spears and so forth. The preview scene had him sitting in a movie theater for the first time. As the film played, an actor took God’s name in vain.


Now, for many people, there are different levels of how they would care about such a statement if they happened to be sitting there like the preacher man.

  • The first level of care would be to turn to whomever they are with and say, “Umph. Why do they have to have such language in a film? Umph.”
  • The second level of care would be to get up and leave.
  • The third level of care would be what this preacher man did in the movie. He burst out of his seat and ran up the aisle into the lobby! “You have got to stop that film,” he shouted to anyone in hearing distance. “They are taking God’s name in vain. You must stop it! Don’t you understand?!” The lady selling popcorn stood dumbfounded.

As that scene played, I turned to my wife and said, “Wow. That man really cares!”


I share this story not to be preachy, but to illustrate a powerful point of Peak Performance. When you care deeply about anything in life like that preacher man cared about God’s name being taken in vain in a movie, you have a chance to leave a legacy. When you care to the third level like he was, you can impact generations. You will inspire people. You can bring on powerful change. You can be a part of incredible experiences. That is the level of PASSION!


If everyone in this world cared to the third level, can you imagine what it would be like?


Caring like that can take a piece of your hide, but so what? Peak performers don’t settle for the first two levels of care. They relish the third level, and so many good things come from that passion.


There’s a saying at the University of Notre Dame regarding people in athletics that have spent many years sacrificing for others, and caring deeply about what they do and the organization they are a part of. It is said they leave their blood in the bricks.


George Kelly was a successful assistant football coach at Notre Dame for 17 years. He coached under the legendary Ara Parseghian. Kelly coached 13 of his players to the pro level. Later, Kelly moved into administration and continued to care deeply – to the third level – about anything he could do to make Notre Dame better.


I used to see him put a chilled diet cola in head coach Lou Holtz’s car just before Holtz left famed Notre Dame Stadium after games. Kelly wasn’t too big to do that humble act. When the small civic club I belonged to needed a speaker to come to Honker’s Restaurant to deliver a program, Kelly was there. He wasn’t too big to come speak in a little room to about 25 people. He cared to the third level all 75 of his years. If you go out to Notre Dame and hack away at the bricks, you’ll find the blood of George Kelly in them.


Try to care deeply to the third level no matter what you do.



- Charlie Adams, Motivational Speaker
574 807 2279 || Email Charlie