How many times have you seen the high school champion not go onto future success? How often do you see early talent and capability go unrealized later in life? Have you ever seen a top salesman from another company join a new team and fail to fire?
There are two main reason why this happens;
- Early success gives people a false sense of belief that it was their natural ability that got them there and it will be enough to get them to the next level.
- A belief that a history of prior success is going to be enough to set you up for success in the future.
Champions don’t fall into to these 2 fallacies. The reason they take it to the next level is because they never stop looking for ways to hone their craft, turning their weaknesses into strengths with training and hard work. They know the process can’t be rushed and is never done over an innings, a week, month, quarter, half or game. They take the long term view, plotting a course to fix the weakness and persevere until they have resolved the issue then move onto the next weakness.
On the sporting field when you see a champion it all looks so effortless for them out there in the heat of battle, they appear to have more ‘time’ than the other athletes. How do they make it look so easy? Because they work hard to make every action come naturally and instinctively! Here are a few quotes from one the greatest sporting champions who always had ‘time’ – Michael Jordan
“My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”
“Everybody has talent, but ability takes hard work.”
“Once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate.”
And my favourite;
“If you do the work you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life.”
Across all fields there is a consistent formula that champions, like MJ, follow to never stop improving and continue to find that edge that keeps them ahead of the pack. Everyone does it differently but there are 4 key pillars in a champion’s journey for self-improvement.
It starts with constant reflection of your own performance, after each and every interaction think about what you did well and what could be done better. Set time in your calendar on a weekly or monthly basis to formalise your thoughts and identify areas you would like to improve, your training objectives.
Measurable training objectives
Always align your training objectives with a specific and measurable outcome. You need to be able to measure the efficacy of your training against the specific objective. E.g. If you are focusing on your ability to influence a prospect during the initial calls you may target an improvement in lead conversion rate. If you working on your negotiation skills you may look to focus on your average order size.
For a champion accountability normally takes two forms. The first, and most important, is individual accountability. You need to be true to yourself and consistently review how you are tracking towards your goals. Once you have finished your self-reflection it is important to share your goals and reflections with your peers, manager, mentor, partner, family or coach. Not only does this increase your personal accountability but sharing also allows you to get a different perspective and should ensure that you are focusing your effort in the area in which you will get maximum returns. Sometimes you can get so bogged down in chasing your training objectives you need an outside perspective to help you pivot, refocus and keep positive. Even a champion needs support!
I have mentioned it several times already, but consistency is the key to becoming a champion. Set yourself a regular cadence of reflection and practice. Review your performance individually and with the people you have shared your goals with, taking the time to understand how your training has impacted your performance of the target metrics. No matter how ‘busy’ you get, never compromise this time!
Good luck and happy training!