What makes a great performance great?
Have you ever been told that you hold so much promise? That you have a lot of potential?
When you hear that, how do you feel?
In my own life I was tired of hearing it because nothing seemed to change as the days and subsequent years sailed by. I was in the same position, not feeling like I had made any progress. I was in a job I didn’t like, with plenty month at the end of the money consistently. I had huge dreams but felt that they would remain the rant of a mad woman who had a huge imagination. Although I knew all the steps to goal setting, it seemed as if goal-setting was a game to get you frustrated and eventually quit the game altogether!
Until one day I heard this:
People form habits, and habits form futures.
This was from Mike Litman, on his Greatness Held Hostage audio recording.
I realized that you either had to inculcate success habits into your life or you would continue being praised for your remarkable talent but remain equally frustrated by your poor or nonexistent results.
If you know what you want, and you want it badly, and you construct a plan to get there believing that if you do what you say you’re going to do that you will get the results you want – why don’t you succeed?
Entrepreneur James Clear says “There is a surprisingly narrow gap that separates the good performance from the great performance. And that narrow gap is separated by small habits and daily rituals.”
There’s that word again – habits.
What are your predominant habits?
I had the good fortune to listen to a commencement speech, by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, B.J. ’77, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, Texas Exes Life Member, and Distinguished Alumnus, to the University of Texas at Austin Class of 2014. He wanted to share his life lessons, having been in the Navy Seals for 36 years. I’m not going to share all the lessons except the first one, but I will encourage to take a look at the clip below, listen and take notes. It’s worth it.
Every morning in SEAL training, his instructors would visit his barracks and the first thing they would do is inspect his bed. According to the Admiral, if you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard, and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack. He said “it was a simple task, mundane at best, but every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that we were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs. But the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over. If you make your bed every morning, you would have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task, and another and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed would have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never be able to do the big things right.”
And there it is. If you don’t develop good habits you are doomed before you start.
So you’ve set the goal, but what is it that you need to do daily in order for you to achieve that goal in the time frame set? And be prepared to change your approach until you start seeing the results you want. Don’t get comfortable in a routine for the sake of it, if what you’re doing is not taking you where you want to go!
You need to have the mindset that every day, this is going to be accomplished, no matter what. I won’t close my eyes until I have done “this thing.” Don’t go to bed until you have met your daily target. Make it non-negotiable. It’s not if I meet it, it’s WHEN I meet it.
You must be constantly aware of how you are performing relative to what you did yesterday and relative to your average performance over a particular time period. When you record your daily results, it will be impossible to lie to yourself about whether or not you are getting good results or poor results. . You will be constantly aware of your choices, your actions, and your performance and be in a position to change things up accordingly if you find yourself traveling in opposition to your goal.
Be encouraged by James’s guidance: “It is so easy to dismiss the value of making slightly better decisions on a daily basis. Sticking with the fundamentals is not impressive. Falling in love with boredom is not sexy. Getting one percent better isn’t going to make headlines.”
Yet there is one thing to say about developing success habits. It works!