Over the last 16 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of professional, and semi-professional athletes: From Basketball to Cycling, there are some truly incredibly athletes out there. However, many of them don’t make it to “the league” (NBA, MLB, etc).
It’s not because they aren’t strong enough, or lack skills. Nor is it because they aren’t smart enough or are slow learners.
It’s because they don’t REALLY want to put in the DAILY hard work. They don’t want to come out of their comfort zones. Don’t take this to mean that they don’t work hard, they do. But only in small spurts.
Personal Habits For A Better & More Successful Version of You
Numerous players I’ve worked with have had the physical traits and characteristics that it takes to get to the league. but they were just too damn lazy to give a crap- until the draft was 6 months away.
The same applies to weight loss.
And Self development as a person and a business professional.
And as a business owner.
And as a professional.
And as an entrepreneur.
And as a student.
I was no different.
You’re no different.
We don’t want it BAD enough, to do the consistent, menial tasks EVERY DAY, to get us to where we want to go. To get out of your comfort zone.
When you decide- from the latin root de-cada, meaning “to cut off”- to cut off from ANY AND ALL OTHER OPTIONS, you will succeed.
Most people are too scared, or too comfortable with their life or lifestyle- especially if it sucks- to do anything real about it.
“What if I try to do something and fail. Then everyone will see I failed, and I’ll be worse off.”
We fail ourselves to success.
Read that again, because it’s the most true statement you’ll read about success.
From the little pigs (who failed twice, with catastrophic results), to LeBron James (whose been in the last 6 NBA finals, and failed more than he won), it’s a hard truth to life, that no one seems to want to share, face, or bring to Center Stage.
What will happen if you try and fail?
You’ll have tried. And then you’ll try again, a bit smarter and more experienced- until you succeed.
Forget everyone else. Focus and invest in making yourself the BEST version possible of you- as a friend, business professional, family member, and student of life.
You want to be successful? REALLY want to be successful?
You have to hit that breaking point where you aren’t afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Where you EMBRACE failure when it comes, because failure is one of our greatest teachers. Where you see every “No”, as just one more that will lead you to a “yes”.
The breaking point is that point where you’re sitting in your car in traffic, and you start getting so angry about your life, and how much better you CAN and SHOULD have it, that you begin to cry. Not because your sad or depressed, but because you realize you’ve wasted too much time that you could have put all your skills and tools to use, to improve yourself, your bank account, your family, you friends, your clients, and the world.
When you get to the point where you absolutely cannot stand a single second more of the life you’ve been living, and you don’t care WHAT is in your way, YOU ARE GOING TO GET THERE.
Then you will be on the true road to success.
As Michael Jordan’s personal Coach/Trainer Tim Grover points out in his book “Relentless”: Michael didn’t just want to be the best of the year (MVP), he wanted to be the best player of all time. And he looked for ways to make himself the ONE competitor that other teams didn’t look forward to playing against, because you knew he was going to go hard for 48 minutes, relentlessly.
Most ball players just want to make it TO the league. They want the LABEL.
This is how most people are. They don’t want to do the work to make it so they can flat-out BUY a Mercedes Benz. They just want the label. They want the feeling of people looking when they roll up in that S class. So they work just hard enough to lease.
What’s getting in your way?
Yourself, Your comfort zone, and your social club.
If you want to get better, and TRULY be successful, you MUST start with yourself.
You can’t do it because of someone else. That isn’t to say it can’t be done, but it’s much more challenging. Doing it because someone else wants it for you, won’t give you the determination, grit, and desire to wake up at 445am to get a head start so you can become an expert in your field by reading an hour a day, and exercising for an hour, before everyone else’s alarm clocks go off.
You need to quit being so damn comfortable.
Did you know that most people reach the lower level of prosperity- the point where they can pay their bills each month, go out to eat 2-3x a week, and call it a day?
Because it’s comfortable. They’ve lost the ability to dream, and see themselves doing better. They work just hard enough they feel ok with themselves, punch out, head home, and plop down in front of the TV or Youtube for a few hours, and call it a day.
But not you. You’ve got that fire inside you. You’re ready to roll, and aiming to fly!
So where do you focus all this energy?
Make it so you hold yourself accountable, and get going.
10 Personal Habits to increase your levels of success, desire, and clarity
1. Write down your goals.
“That which get measured, gets managed” -Peter Drucker
While this seems like such a menial task, and perhaps silly, this is the number one thing we must do. It gives us direction, and a destination. Oh, and don’t aim small- aim high! This way, if you miss, you’ll still have some amazing accomplishments!
2. Set your 6 month, 1 year, and 3 year goals.
These should be achievable, and reasonable, but stretch you out a bit.
3. Reverse engineer who you need to be, and what you need to do, in order to get there.
Start on a monthly basis- what do I need to accomplish each month in order to get there?
Then from each monthly goal, break it down into weekly goals.
And finally from weekly goals, down to daily goals.
Now you know what you need to accomplish each day, This is the nitty gritty daily grind that most people don’t or won’t do consistently.
Now to get it done…EVERYDAY. There is no off-season.
4. Make a plan
This is the second most common place people make mistakes. They try to get an A+ plan, the absolute BEST plan possible. They take lots of time to come up with it, but then when it comes time to execute, the effort or focus leads to a B or C level of execution.
When I worked as an EMT on an ambulance service running 911 emergency calls, we had 10-15 seconds to make a plan based on what the situation was upon our arrival. But it started with a simple decision on which of the two ways we could go:
“Stay and play” OR “Load and go”
Make your plan starting with the ONE big thing you need as the foundation, and work your way up from there. The details will get worked out as you figure out more of the plan. Just get the “big picture” figured out!
5. Start following the plan, when it is 80-90% done.
Don’t wait for the plan to be 100% ready. While in some cases you need to- such as when we’re loading a patient in the ambulance- we can’t start driving away if the stretcher is only locked in at the back doors, but all 4 wheels are still outside the ambulance-although that would make for one “interesting” experience for the patient!
Don’t let procrastination get the best of you, and allow yourself to keep putting off finishing the plan before you start. Start your plan when the MUST HAVE 80% is in place. This way you’ve started the plan, and can continue to refine and progress it as you go along the way- just don’t be reckless!
6. EXECUTE the plan at 100% effort and focus, TODAY.
As General George Patton said “”A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” ”
You don’t need an A+ plan. In fact you can have a B- plan, but A+ execution, and those results will far exceed the best laid plan and poor execution. In business consulting, I’ve seen phenomenal results from a “B+ Plan”, but that had A+ execution, and flexibility on the way.
In my time coaching endurance athletes, the riders who have done the best, and gone the farthest have been the best at EXECUTING the plan 95%+ of the time, AND done a phenomenal job of communicating thought the execution of the plan, so that we could make changes and adaptations as we went along.
So whether you’re racing for a National Championship, working towards a $10 million increase in profits, or aiming for the C-level suite, make sure you execute at 100%. But don’t forget…
7. Make changes as you go along, to allow the plan to work!
As the military saying goes “Even the best laid plan goes to crap, as soon as the first shot is fired”. The same goes for Survival- in business, life- especially in the wilderness.
In his book “Deep Survival” Laurence Gonzalez talks about how hikers can become lost because they make a wrong turn, and try to MAKE their mental map fit what they see around them, when in fact if they’d just stop, break their mental map model, and take a moment to figure out where they REALLY are, they might find their way back on the path fairly easily.
Don’t let a plan, YOUR plan get you lost. Know your destination, but make adjustments and changes to the plan as you go along. Be sure to have a solid team around you to keep you on the RIGHT track.
8. Build a social and business network around you.
“Birds of a feather flock together”.
If you want to figure out how much you’ll be worth (fiscally) or how well you’ll do, take a look at the 5 people you spend most of your time with. We share our dreams, visions, and goals with those around us, and if they support us, we often set out and accomplish them.It takes likemindedness to get there.
Find great people: better, brighter, smarter than you, and learn from them. Spend time with them. Call them your “Brain Trust” if you will. For those we spend our time with, has a huge impact on who we are.
9. FAIL your way to success, learn from it, and embrace it!
In bike racing, there is only 1 winner.
There are often 100+ racers PER race. That means most racers fail far more often than they win.
Business and life are much the same.
When we win, we party. When we lose, we ponder.
Failure is there to teach us many lessons, and to figure out how we can improve. Embrace this fact, and see every loss, setback, obstacle, and failure as another big step towards success. Just make sure to learn from them, as well as seek to learn from others whom have already done what you are on your way to accomplish.
A great way to learn from these other trailblazers is our 10th step…
10. READ BOOKS
In 2015 the Pew Research Center found that the average American read just 12 books in the previous year. Women read more than 50% more than men, and those whose household income is over $75k read more than double those whose household income is under $30k.
If you want to become more successful, you need to invest in yourself, and the easiest way to do so, with the biggest ROI (return on investment), is through reading books.
America has one of the best library systems in the modern world, yet most americans fail to take advantage of this!
Think of a book this way- You are sitting down 1 on 1 with the author, and having them share with you what they’ve learned on that topic.
It’s been said that in order to become an expert on a subject, one should read 60 books on that specific subject. Take the AVERAGE american who reads 12 books a year, and that means 5 years they can have the foundations to become an expert. (Yes, I know about Ericsson’s 10,000 hour rule. Think of these books as the foundation for that expertise!).
What’s one room that can be found in nearly every millionaires house, that most folks don’t have?
A library, filled with books that which the owner of said house has read.
Commit to these 10 personal habits, make sure to get the nitty-gritty daily things done that you need to in order to BE the person and professional you want to be. Progress will begin to add up, compounding on itself, and in just a short time you’ll begin to see that your goals ARE in your capabilities- as long as you focus on doing those daily activities to get you there.