This past winter, I had learned that my guilty pleasure was taking in as much of the Olympics that I could. I found myself mesmerized. There’s something about the pursuit of excellence at the highest level possible that was captivating to me. I have such great respect for these athletes that have given their last 4 years and most of their lives dedicated to execution in one moment of excellence that typically lasts less than 2 minutes.
I had watched athlete after athlete compete, and it forced me to think about what their path to excellence and success looked like. As a former athlete, I’ve had a small taste into that world, and I quickly realized that it was the thousands of hours dedicated to the practice of the fundamentals that put these athletes into such an elite level.
As much as I would liked to be able to participate in the Olympics, it’s not happening anytime soon for me. However, I do take great pride in my job each day. My guess is that most of us want to perform at the highest level possible. Thus, lately, I’ve been inspired by others that have been at the pinnacle of the business or sports world. As I read and study their methods, I’m reminded even more of the importance of continually practicing, preaching, and executing on the fundamentals day in and day out.
As we embark on lofty goals at pMD for 2018, I wanted to share a few of the key fundamentals I’m routinely seeing among those that have achieved and led teams to the pinnacle of success and are applicable no matter what line of work you’re in:
Clarify your Definition of Success
In our personal and professional lives, there can be a tremendous amount of noise and opinions that will all try to dictate what success looks like. I found it fascinating that John Wooden, a former Hall of Fame UCLA basketball coach who won 10 national championships (7 consecutively), 80 games in a row and is considered one of the greatest coaches in history, never talked about “wins” being a benchmark to success when speaking with his teams. Rather, he said, “True success comes only to an individual by self-satisfaction in knowing that you gave everything to become the very best that you are capable of. Less than 100% of your effort towards obtaining the objective is not success, regardless of the outcome. Don’t worry about whether you’re better than somebody else, but never cease trying to be the best you can become. You have control over that; the other you don’t.”
Little Things Make Big Things Happen
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Lofty goals are achieved through your seemingly small actions each day, accumulated over extended periods of time. Be relentless in your pursuit of staying committed to doing the little things correctly over time. Wooden states, “Long-term success requires short-term focus.” Stay consistent with investing in the fundamentals for improvement today and the future will take care of itself. When you start obsessing about the future and the projected scoreboard, you lose the opportunity to better yourself and your team today.
Discipline Equals Freedom
I’ve also been following a former Navy-Seal-turned-business-consultant, Jocko Willink. He preaches that discipline equals freedom and is critical to success. While discipline may seem like your enemy, it’s actually your best friend. All of us desire to reach a freedom that comes from achieving our lofty goals. Jocko states clearly that there are no shortcuts to success. It is the best offense to reach your potential and the best defense against temptation, weakness and procrastination. It’s through your discipline that you’re able to execute on the priorities and “little things” that frees you to perform your best and reach your goals.
My takeaways from these themes are that you can’t accomplish lofty goals and dreams without being incredibly disciplined and relentless on the fundamentals every single day. Easier said than done, but it starts with making those disciplined decisions today and then starting all over in executing tomorrow. Over time, those minutes turn into hours, hours into days, and days into years. Execute on the daily process and the scoreboard and your accomplishments will take care of themselves.