There are two kinds of top achievers. There are the ones that can focus on the ultimate goal and everything falls into place behind it. Picture the star football player that sets his sight on The Super Bowl. Everyday he reminds himself what all the effort is for, knowing that the pain will lead to the goal. Then there is the rest of us that want to do something better everyday knowing that the amalgamation of continual effort will deliver the desired results. In an athlete, this is the football player that puts all his energy into fundamental techniques knowing that only a master will make it to the big game.
Both approaches work. Both require continual technical improvement with unrelenting effort. 99.9% of us can’t pull it off because we are not superhuman. We need structure, training, and small successes. I like to call it, Improving the Odds.
I am a fairly average martial artist. Over the past dozen years or so I have overcome my fears, physical limitations, and intense competition to survive class, tournaments, and sparring sessions with really good practitioners. I’ll never be great, but I have survived because I work on improving my odds of success. I won’t bore you with lots of training stories other than to say that my mentors have taught me simple lessons that have paid off over time. Earning a Black Belt – as many instructors will tell you – is an acknowledgment that you have mastered the fundamentals. The real learning comes once you join the ranks of other black belts, who teach you the secrets on how to leverage fundamental techniques for extraordinary results. These lessons are what defines the martial artist, and you can recognize how each individual embodies the higher levels of learning.
Being a business owner is much like being a black belt. You have mastered the fundamentals, but if you stop learning how to apply them you will not survive. My role as a business advisor and consultant is to provide lessons that improve upon the basics, make you more competitive, and help you excel longer in a world where lots of other owners know the same basic things as you. There is so much to learn that sometimes the opportunity is overwhelming. Just like the football player that focuses on the fundamentals in their quest for the Super Bowl, we can apply small lessons in business that drive us towards better and better results.
When the big picture is too big, just focus on the one thing you can do better today.