Character & Mental Toughness- Loyalty Point

Loyal or Disloyal

At what point do you become loyal to a person or a team or an organization?

At what point do you become disloyal to a person or a team or an organization?

In each situation, what is your loyalty point?  The point where you become loyal, or the point where you become disloyal.

Lately, we have encountered something I call “playing on the players terms.”  This means that a player has little loyalty to the program, the team they signed up for.  The player feels he, or she, can come and go when it is convenient.  A player can say “hey, I have a party to go to so I won’t be practicing the next couple of days and I will miss a game.”  Or a player can say “I only want to play shortstop, so if you move me to the outfield I will quit.”  Or a player will blow off an entire winter and summer of weight training and still expect to start in the fall.

Some questions might help to clarify this “play on the players terms” mindset:

“I will sign up for football as long as I can play wide receiver or linebacker.”  Is that loyal?

“I will show up for practice as long as I don’t have something better to do.”  Is that loyal?

“I will show up for practice as long as I don’t have any sickness or pain.”  Is that loyal?

“I will show up for practice as long as it’s not too hot, or too cold.” Is that loyal?

“If our team starts losing, I will start bad mouthing them just like the people with no ties to the program.”  Is that loyal?

“I will help out, or back the program if my son or daughter plays a lot.”  Is that loyal?

In many ways loyalty is the truest and most difficult test of character and mental toughness.  This is because you have to be mentally tough not just for your own gain, but for the gain of another person or group.

So what causes a person to become loyal?  I think it is the courage to love.  At some point the loyal take the risk of falling in love.  They fall in love with a sport, or a team, or a person. Their love allows them to be loyal.

What causes a person to become disloyal?  I think it is love.  At some point they fall out of love with a sport or a team or a person.

For some people it takes a great deal for them to become disloyal, if they can be made to become disloyal at all.

Others will become disloyal very easily.

What interests me is how much a person can take before they become disloyal.  This is a measure of their character and mental toughness.

For some it takes very little for them to become disloyal.  For these people it is just a matter of simple convenience.  For example one sport is just easy while another is difficult.  You become loyal to the easy one.   For others it is simply a matter of selfishness.  For example one person you are newly friends with elevates your social status while a second person you have long been friends with does not.  A disloyal person dumps the long time friend for the new one that elevates their status.

Why is loyalty important?  Because it makes you dig deeper and sacrifice more than you could just for yourself.  You become stronger and tougher, as you sacrifice for someone or something else; even when you don’t want to.

If you want to become a great player you have to be loyal to your sport.  That does not mean that you have to play only one sport.  But it does mean hours of planning ahead and preparation and training.  This means you will likely have to make some significant sacrifices.  The more you are loyal to your sport, the more sacrifices you will make to prepare and train.  The more loyal you are, the more pain and discomfort and inconvenience you will be willing to endure.

Loyalty is a two way street.  Championship teamwork occurs as a result of loyalty.  It occurs when each member of the team sacrifices for the others.  It occurs when each member of the team gives the other members their best character.  Championship teamwork occurs when we become tough enough to endure great inconvenience, pain, and discomfort because we are loyal to one another.  Do your part, and never fear having to do more than your part!

Loyalty is a risk.  You may give your loyalty only to find out that your loyalty, or depth of loyalty is not returned.  You may get burned as a result.  But know full well that if you do not risk giving your loyalty, your deepest truest loyalty, then you will never get it back in return.  All great teams have a few people with the courage to make this type of investment.  Their example allows their teammates to begin to understand how such sacrifice leads to success.  Loyalty inspires loyalty.  But someone has to take the risk of being loyal first.

Loyalty defines your relationship.  If you do not show your friends or your team how loyal you are, then don’t be foolish enough to think they are going to be loyal to you!  If your friends or team see that you are not willing to sacrifice for them, they will have very little interest in sacrificing for you.

Yell and scream at them all you want, if you didn’t lift and run and sweat with them, if you missed a week of practice, or avoided taking a hit, they could care less what you have to say.

We have discussed how to become loyal, but there are also times that you will need to become disloyal.  Once you have given a person a few chances and found they do not take advantage of them, then maybe it’s time to think about how loyal you should be.  I think the best way to gauge this by seeing if the other person or group helps you to become a better person.  Not happy, or popular, or simpler….but better.

Loyalty is defined as being faithful to commitments or obligations, adherence to a designated structure, a sense of duty or attachment to someone or something.  Loyalty is something you give, loyalty is something you get.

A few final observations:

Nothing betrays your lack of loyalty as quickly as your negative comments (not to be confused with constructive criticism).  Nothing demonstrates your loyalty as quickly as your helping someone get through a tough time.

Being loyal means standing up for the person or group you are loyal to. Nothing tears your team or town apart more than a lack of loyalty.  When the citizens or members spend more time ridiculing one another than sacrificing for one another, there will be little success. Your team or community will never have consistent success until they have consistent loyalty.

You want a truly great team, a truly great community, well here it is at it’s core!

Let that first sacrifice be your mindset of initial support and let the second sacrifice be your simple gestures of selflessness.  Let the third be your demonstration of mental toughness showing that you will not throw all the other life boat passengers overboard at the slightest wave, but rather will endure with them colossal towers of sea in the greatest of storms.  Yes, you may get hurt, but you will never become the best until you have the courage to take that risk and sacrifice for others and the mental toughness to maintain that sacrifice  and persevere when faced with adversity.

Have the courage to raise your loyalty point with your fellow teammates and citizens and you just might find they raise their loyalty point with you.

Below are some quotes and a links to a great article and video on loyalty.

I just want you to know what is possible.


“A person recalls how he is treated not when he is on top of the world, undefeated, but when he is at his lowest, thinking he will never again see the sun.”  Bob Greene

“Who remembers a kindness that comes when kindnesses are in short supply? Who most treasures being made to feel welcome when every door seems to be slamming shut?”- Bob Greene

“I’m not the one who was elected.” Although she disagreed with her husband on “a lot of issues,” she emphasized, “I would never do anything to publicly undermine my husband’s point of view.”— Laura Bush

“We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.”-Gilbert Keith Chesterton

“You’ve got to give loyalty down, if you want loyalty up.”— Donald T. Regan

“When we are debating an issue, loyalty means privately giving me your honest opinion, whether you think I’ll like it or not. Disagreement, at this state, stimulates me. But once a decision is made, the debate ends. From that point on, loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own.”— General Colin Powell

“Put on the company hat. (Be willing to accept actions that may have a negative impact upon a particular component but are in the best interests of the company as a whole.)”- Reginald H. Jones

“Americanism demands loyalty to the teacher and respect for his lesson.”-Bainbridge Colby

“Besides pride, loyalty, discipline, heart, and mind, confidence is the key to all the locks.”-
Joe Paterno

“Call it loyalty, call it what you want, but I suppose I’ve got people up here who I’m really tight with, we’ve made a lot of great bonds over the last few years and I’ve got people in my corner I can trust.” -Jonathan Brown

“I learned from Mr. Wrigley, early in my career, that loyalty wins and it creates friendships. I saw it work for him in his (chewing gum and publishing) business.”-Ernie Banks

“I’ve seen people that don’t treat their animals well and yet their animals are still just as loving to them even though they’re not treated that well. It’s very hard to find that kind of loyalty and love and affection in human beings.” -Dick Van Patten

“Loyalty and devotion lead to bravery. Bravery leads to the spirit of self-sacrifice. The spirit of self-sacrifice creates trust.”-Morihei Ueshiba

“Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.”-Mark Twain

“Soldiers, when committed to a task, can’t compromise. It’s unrelenting devotion to the standards of duty and courage, absolute loyalty to others, not letting the task go until it’s been done.”- John Keegan

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.”-Colin Powell

“The game is my life. It demands loyalty and responsibility, and it gives me back fulfillment and peace.”-Michael Jordan

“False friends are like vermin that abandon a sinking vessel, or like swallows that depart at the approach of winter. True friends are like ivy that adheres to the tree in its decay. True friends are like the light of phosphorus: brightest in the dark.”—Unknown

“The thing I was attracted to as a little girl was Kirk, Bones and Spock, and their utter loyalty. They bickered constantly, but they were willing to risk everything for one another. There’s nothing more powerful than that.”- Unknown

“I’ve told our guys  that I have a lot of loyalty to them. I’m going to give everything I’ve got to them.” Scott Cherry, player on the 1994 UNC Championship team

“Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice.” -Woodrow Wilson

“A friend is a human soul whom we can trust utterly; who knows the best and the worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults; who will speak the honest truth to us; who will give us counsel and reproof in the day of prosperity and self-conceit, but who will comfort us and encourage us in the days of difficulty and sorrow.”—Charles Kingsley

“A jack of both sides, is before long, trusted by nobody.”-An old Proverb

“Loyalty is still the same, whether it win or lose the game; true as a dial to the sun, although it be not shined upon.”-Samuel Butler

“Loyalty is something you give regardless of what you get back, and in giving loyalty, you’re getting more loyalty; and out of loyalty flow other great qualities.”- Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

“Loyalty Binds Me”-Motto

“Tell a lame joke and see who laughs and who looks at you like you wasted their time, there my friends, you will find a glimpse of who is loyal”-bmoore

Loyalty Before Life

Some years ago an ocean liner was wrecked on a dangerous reef on the New England coast. The coast guard is common there. They went to the rescue under the captaincy of an old seaman, but with a few inexperienced young men on the crew. One of the youngsters turned a white face to the captain, saying, “Sir, the wind is offshore; and the tide is running out. We can go out, but we can never come back.” All the captain said was, “Launch the boat. We have to go out. We don’t have to come back!”—New Century Leader


About coachbillmoore

Educator/Author/Speaker/HS & NCAA Coach Character Coach Read Coach Moore’s book “On Character and Mental Toughness” Paperback available at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. "The measure of your character and mental toughness is the space between what you are doing and what you could be doing." -Coach Bill Moore
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