We are living in the age of distraction. At any moment, we can experience a notification on our smartphone tellings us we need to check a social media update to an important email just begging to be answered. While technology provides us examples of the various distractions that can invade our life, we are also distracted by talent. In business, human resource offices are getting makeovers and renamed, including the word talent offices and in sports, we are constantly looking for the next great talented individual that will be an instant impact. Fans, coaches, and even competitors get distracted by talent.
The North Carolina versus Kentucky NCAA Tournament game that was held yesterday included high level talent, and it is easy to be distracted by the talent in the game. Just watch the last minute when Kentucky made some unbelievable 3-pointers and will be amazed at the talent that was on display. Former walk-on, Luke Maye, made the game-winning shot for North Carolina with 0.3 seconds left in the game, and let’s be clear, Luke May has talent. North Carolina does not offer a walk-on roster to spot to anyone off the street, but Luke Maye’s name is not going to be one of the first names you mention about the current North Carolina basketball team. Maye’s post-game quote was a perfect example of why we need to be less distracted by talent and more focused on what we do a daily basis. When Luke Maye was asked about making this last-second, game-winning shot, he answered, “I took that shot, just like I do everyday in practice.”
Herein lies our focus that great Competitors do in the spotlight what they do everyday outside of the spotlight. We may be distracted by talent, but great performances do not just happen, they are prepared for and worked on every single day. As we work on a daily basis, we are building the focus, the passion, and the talent that is on display. Let us understand that talent is built, it is worked on, so do not be distracted by talent as something that is bestowed upon a chosen few. Go out this week and build your talent and change the world because if you build your talent, soon we may be distracted by you.
Sir Walter Raleigh learned the lesson of giving an extra effort. When he was younger, he attended an elite boarding school. He was a competitor and desired to be first in his class. He was consistently second to another student at the school. One night when Raleigh was preparing for bed, he looked across the school and observed that his competitor’s candle was still lit. After a period of time, Raleigh noticed that his competitor spent an extra 15 minutes studying each night. At this point in time, Sir Walter Raleigh committed to studying an extra 20 minutes a night. He did this every night and by the end of the school year, he was the Number one student in his class.
You are competing with yourself every single day to improve and become the best that you can be. The Heart of a Competitor commits to an extra 20 minutes a day to improve their skills. They find a way to make this commitment and be better than they were the day before.
Sir Walter Raleigh had a goal to be the best, so he took it upon himself to focus on what he controlled and commit to doing the little extra. What is it that you will do a little extra of? Will you commit to visualizing for 20 minutes a day? Will you commit to practicing your skills and conditioning for an extra 20 minutes a day? Will you commit to focusing on your schoolwork for an extra 20 minutes a day?
Set a goal. Commit to a plan of daily effort and then add 20 minutes to your plan. The Heart of the Competitor commits this extra time not as a badge of honor, but with the knowledge that greatness requires commitment to do more than the ordinary.
I have committed to getting up between 4:30 AM and 5:00 AM every single day and this has allowed me to continually move forward on completing a book and audio program that is going to impact the lives of thousands of young competitors.
Question of the Day:
What will you commit to doing for an extra 20 minutes?
“It is impossible to attain perfection, but that should be the goal. Less than 100 percent of your effort in every respect toward attaining your objective is not success, regardless of individual honors received or the number of games won or lost.”
– John Wooden, Hall of Fame College Basketball Coach
Even though perfection is unattainable, Coach Wooden references maintaining 100% of our effort to achieving perfection in everything the competitor does. Maintaining the goal of perfection forces our focus on the ability to continually develop and push our self toward our goals and perform at our best, knowing that each competition is a checkpoint in our progress to observe our development. The competition should in no way have the feeling as a need to prove what our skills are. If we take on the mindset of needing to prove how good we are, this is a recipe for second-guessing and NOT feeling skilled enough to belong, the epitome of the Fixed Mindset. The Growth Mindset values the effort, understanding that effort is the path to improvement, and eventually achievement. (For more on the Growth vs. Fixed Mindset, check out the book Mindset by Carol Dweck.)
The effort to be successful permeates through every opportunity to improve. The effort to improve your physical skills in every opportunity, combined with the effort to improve your mental skills every single day, with an intense effort to maintain and improve your emotional well being. This is perfection as a competitor; this is the establishment of the Heart of a Competitor.
Developing a team to have the Heart of a Competitor is also essential and the effort to dominate every possible aspect of the game is the goal. This is the focus of Coach Wooden’s quote, 100% of your effort in every aspect of the game. For his basketball teams, there was an attention to detail offensively, defensively, and every aspect of preparation. The expectation was that you would provide 100% effort in each of these phases. The Heart of the Competitor maintains this focus and commits to 100% effort because they understand the difference and the impact that last 1% has on achieving greatness.
Question of the Day:
How have you chosen to provide 100% effort to your physical, mental, and emotional skills?