How You Do One Thing Is How You Do Everything
I’m fond of sports analogies.
There are two main reasons why; firstly, I love sport. I love watching and participating in something which is physically and emotionally challenging and which makes me feel truly alive. I also love business, and specifically the people element of business. Why do we do what we do, say what we say, feel how we feel? So often the motivations behind our behaviour are no different to the motivations which determine our success or failure in sport.
And failure, to me isn’t the end of the game, or the round, far from it. It’s the start of a new game or a new round, but this time with all of the learning and a little less of the fear.
In business, our amazing team often references our core values and if you ask anyone on the team, from new starters through to senior partners, everyone will know what they are. In fact, I challenge you to give us a call and ask anyone what they are. You’ll get the same answer because they’re truly at the heart of everything we do.
Our values are not about how we’ll smash targets or crush the competition. They’re about how we’ll treat others, our mindset and our commitment to the team.
Just like in sport.
In the last few years I’ve challenged myself to do things that I would once have considered impossible. And maybe back then they were, because I didn’t have the right mindset. If you believe you can’t finish a marathon, you can’t. If you believe you won’t grow your business, you won’t. I didn’t fully appreciate the power of my mind until I made the switch.
I coach our junior team members on this all the time, and you’d be surprised at how quickly it has an effect. (I wish I’d twigged this when I was twenty-one and not forty-one!) Even just simply reframing a problem into a challenge can shift the perspective enough to make the issue much more achievable. Try it. It might feel a bit strange at first but it’s a tiny adjustment that can have a huge effect.
Is it a problem that you can never birdie that par 4? Or could you challenge yourself to be more controlled at the point when your club strikes the ball? Perhaps that might improve your stroke and get you further up the fairway.
Should you give up on your dreams to retire in your 50s? Or could you challenge your management team now to step up and make you replaceable?
Sometimes big goals are a small change in belief away.
And it’s often said that the small things matter. Holding a door open for someone, a hug, a smile. There’s a truly inspiring speech (google it or look on YouTube) by Admiral William H. McRaven given as the University of Texas commencement address back in 2014. In it he talks about the simple act of making the bed in his Navy Seal training and goes on to demonstrate how you do one thing is how you do everything. Shabby bed, shabby day and a shabby end to the day too when you go back to the mess you left that morning. Whereas if you’d taken a little time to make it you could’ve started the day with one small accomplishment already under your belt. It doesn’t feel like much, but you’d start your day off feeling positive and end it by feeling thankful.
One short story before I finish.
When my son was a little boy (and not the strapping 18-year-old who towers over me now!) we went to watch a mixed martial arts competition at the club where we trained. In fact, we’d trained that morning and hung around to support our team members who were competing.
I didn’t expect to be invited to compete in the adult competition and I was a yellow belt at the time, the lowest rank of all the competitors. I knew there were some incredible martial artists competing, from a variety of disciplines.
I had the option of making that a problem or a challenge.
I have to be honest and say I was surprised when my first opponent, a black belt, tapped out. Everyone was surprised when I went on to make it to the final.
I didn’t win. Well, I didn’t win the fight, but I won something arguably much more valuable, infinitely more rewarding. I realised that a familiar phrase we tell our children all the time really is true, no matter what age you are; you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
So now I like to do business with the same beliefs that I have when I compete in a sport. And if you listen to Admiral McRaven’s speech, which I strongly recommend you to do, I can only say this; there’s no way I’ll be ringing that bell.
Here’s the link:
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