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Success – mental preparation for the day

Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.

A quote from Bobby Knight, one of the best basketball coaches of all time, got me thinking about the various talents that I come into contact with – within and without of the company. Very bright, driven individuals with a clear set of goals and career aspirations have sort of a timeline of when and where they want to be. This is good but what strikes me as a bit over the top is that these individuals haven’t stepped back to think the implications of these aspirations.

In order for one to attain these lofty goals, a lot of work is required. This little factor seems to have been forgotten. Mindless pursuit of meaningless titles and corporate positions smacks a bit of corporate whoring and missing the point by otherwise intelligent individuals. I may be a bit harsh but seems like corporate climbing for the sake of climbing…

Certainly makes managing expectations as a manager complicated – more than if folks would take a deep breath and think through what it is that they’re asking. I’ve been there – asked for what I wanted and then got exactly what I asked for…including the things I didn’t ask for but was part and parcel of the whole package. Oops! Retaining talent in an organization is so difficult – to be flexible enough for the talent to grow and stay in the company. It isn’t just the titles or perceived positional opportunities that one should be concerned with, but rather what each opportunity provides – learning key business skills, exposure to senior leadership, meeting potential coaches/mentors etc.

As for me, a little beat up and greyer for my troubles, it comes around to thinking through success as being a long term journey, not merely a stop along the journey of life. And to succeed to the ultimate whatever goal one has, it requires a deep commitment to mentally prepare to do the things that makes up components of success. It’s like a sports champion approach to his craft: a Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong – who had, IMO, incredible discipline of what Bobby Knight says the “will to prepare to win”. These individuals’ preparation, mental and physical, is probably what stood out compared to their peers. Perseverance is likely one of the secret ingredients in the road to success.

So, what then do we or will we do differently each day? How will we feed our will to prepare to win?

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