“What’s the one thing that will help me the most?” Matthew, one of my college wrestlers asked his newly crowned NCAA Champion roommate. “What do I need to do?”
The 174 lb. DIII National Champion told him to do ONE THING every day from now until the season to make himself a better wrestler.
ONE THING A DAY! Seems so simple. But we know simple isn’t easy!
Stack up the work. Commit to the journey. Do ONE THING EVERY DAY!
Seems so simple. But we know simple isn’t easy!
This reminds me of the “Seinfeld Strategy” that author James Clear talks about in his book Atomic Habits. Clear tells the story of a young comedian talking backstage with Seinfeld about how he had sustained his success. What was the trick to being so good for so long? How did he do it?
Seinfeld replied that he committed to writing ONE JOKE EVERY DAY.
Content is king in the comedy business and the content had to be good. Seinfeld decided that writing consistently was the key to him being able to improve and grow his craft. To be good, you have to DO IT. You must write to get better at writing.
He didn’t say he had to write a good joke every day. He had to write every day. I wasn’t about the product. I was about the process. Writing made him better. I reminded him daily of who he was and what his dream demanded of him.
To get better at wrestling, you have to get better at the things it takes to be a good wrestler. The same goes for softball, basketball, sales, speaking…you fill in the blank!
To get better, we must commit to doing…something…no matter how we feel…no matter what our circumstances…no matter if it’s our best work…no matter what.
We must decide that the work it takes to reach our goal, regardless of whether it was a great day or an average day, is what makes us better.
I used to tell my players that the team that makes the most routine plays usually wins. CONSISTENCY IS KEY! The best are the most consistent. They aren’t looking to be saved by the big play. They seek small improvements, focusing on the things they can stack to build a consistent plan that leads to consistent action.
A hard workout once a week doesn’t do much for your fitness level. It’s the consistent workouts that add up…hard or not!
It’s about consistent commitment. Taking consistent action and a consistent focus on the little things that stack up into big piles of preparation!
Clear goes on to say, “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”
It’s building up votes, jokes, evidence, strategies, training sessions, skills, focus…work!
When you “decide” you want to work to be a National Champion, you are pledging to stack up actions that are required to be a champion. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “decide” comes from the Latin word “de” which means “off” and “terminare” which means ‘"to mark the end or boundary," from terminus "end, limit".’
Put another way, you decided…and this means all your other options are gone – they are off the table and out of bounds!
You don’t “decide” to be a National Champion just like Seinfeld didn’t “decide” to be one of the country’s most successful comedians. We don’t control everything on the journey or our competition.
But we do “decide” to do the work that is necessary to reach that goal. Without consistent work, we can’t even influence the situation!
How did Seinfeld do it?
He had a calendar. One of those old ones you hang on the wall. Every day he put a big X in the box for that day after he wrote his joke.
He didn’t skip the X if it was a bad joke. It wasn’t about results. He wrote a joke and writing made him better, so he X’d out that day!
His goal was to have a string of X’s…no breaks…keeping himself on track and CONSISTENT!
I have heard it said that our choices are like a train track, they lead us to where we are going. We go where our choices lead us. Choose to do ONE THING each day to be a better player, coach, leader or sales manager and you are moving in the right direction.
Earlier this year I committed to doing something every day to build my business. In this Tip I am calling myself out for being woefully inconsistent in that commitment…so it’s really not a commitment, is it?
I am sure you have “committed” in similar ways. It’s not unusual nor is it helpful in reaching our goals. I don’t control whether or not I am a “national champion” mental performance coach, but I have NO SAY in it if I don’t do the work!
What, then, can we do to be more consistent?
We can start by making a list of things that will move us closer to our goal and choose which ones are deserving of an “X”. If we don’t do this, we will barter with ourselves as we stand in front of our calendar and try to convince our ease-seeking mind that what we did made us better… "didn’t it….sort of” (said with a head tilt and shoulders in that questioning pose)!
Then we ask ourselves a few questions about the things, environments, thoughts or people that keep us from being consistent. Do we have enough time? Does the task/behavior require a lot of mental or physical energy? Does it fit our current routine or schedule? Is it something we can do at this level of knowledge or fitness?
After you build your list, the next questions relate to your willingness to adjust your schedule, environment, behaviors or short-term goals to make what you want to do easier…and when I say easier I mean able to be completed with less friction.
Sleep in your workout shirt. It’s one less step in the morning. Keep your visualization plan close to your bedside so you can reach it when you hit the hay.
Set yourself up for success. The more convenient the better!
Make your own calendar. Don’t trust your willpower. Trust that you are lazier than you want to admit!
Make a 100% commitment to the actions on your “to be a national champion I must” list. These are the ONLY things that allow you to make that series of Xs longer and longer!
Adjust your list as you go. You know when you need to step it up (or back it off) to get better!
As we talked about in Four Small Ways To Feed Your Fire, it’s the little things that make big things happen!
What will your ONE THING be or what will your ONE THING list include?
You can always do more than ONE THING, but if you do ONE THING every day between now and then…whenever your “then” is, you will be better then than you are now…and that moves you closer to peak performance…and your goals!
Manage the moments…and that ONE THING today!
P.S. I’d love to help your team adjust their mental game! Contact me today at email@example.com or call/text 234-206-0946 and let’s set up a session or a plan for your program!
Mental Performance Coach
firstname.lastname@example.org • 234-206-0946