Bill Walsh once said, “When your why is strong enough, you will figure out how.”
How strong is your why? How strong is your passion for growth, for learning, for improving? Are you willing to go the extra mile? Some are, some are not sure, and some don’t care.
Here is an example of someone whose “why” is extremely strong. A head coach from Australian Rules football during his bye week was interested in learning more about what makes the Patriots successful and what makes teams in America win, so much so that he was willing to jump on a plane and travel from southern Australia to Los Angeles without any pre-arranged meetings. Once in Los Angeles, his normal point of contact was not around, so he hopped a plane to Las Vegas and wanted to spend time learning the Patriot way from someone that he connected with via email. That brief meeting transitioned into this coach hopping on a flight to Philadelphia to spend five more hours in the air to continue learning the Patriot way. Once in Philadelphia, he grabbed a room at the nearest hotel and rested. The next day drove an hour for more Patriots talk, then headed back to the airport for a return flight to Australia. In all, he spent more time in the air, than on the ground. Yet his curiosity to learn, essentially his “why” drove him to spend more time in the air on his off days, than on the ground. Now that is a committed coach.
You might read that and think that the coach is crazy. Some in Australia already know that only one head coach would be willing to make that large of a sacrifice to make himself and perhaps his team one percent better. And that’s the key right? Slight improvements each day add up over time. James Clear in his book Atomic Habits writes about the importance of “continuous improvement.”
According to Clear: “Continuous improvement is a dedication to making small changes and improvements every day,” with the expectation that those small improvements will add up to something significant.
The typical approach to self-improvement is to set a large goal, then try to take big leaps to accomplish the goal in as little time as possible. While this may sound good in theory, it often ends in burnout, frustration, and failure. Instead, we should focus on continuous improvement by slowly and slightly adjusting our normal habits and behaviors.
Great teams do the same thing every day and never become bored; successful people practice the same routine each day and never become satisfied. And you need to start doing the same today. Don’t hop on a plane and fly 10,000 miles, rather find out how strong is your “why” and make a plan.
Getting a little better each day will matter when the days add up.
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