THE ART OF BEING AVERAGE: How You Can Be Great Once You STOP Trying To Do Your Best …
You know, most of my blog posts are written for YOU, to help you make good on what’s possible in Personal Training, based on info I learned from in the trenches, scratching and clawing my way to make things work whether it was in a big-box gym, running a 42 location training department, or pumping out sessions in my studio …
But this one is half for you, and half for ME, because it talks about some personal insights I’ve had into productivity lately, and the biggest lessons I’ve been learning as part of it.
Just like Cinderella, PRODUCTIVITY has two evil “P-word” step-sisters, PROCRASTINATION and PERFECTIONISM. They are the biggest obstacles you have to your entrepreneurial life (yes, if you are a solo trainer, you are officially an entrepreneur so congrats!).
Ha – I remember when my biggest enemies were the other “prep school gangsters” in downtown New York. Now I fight daily against intangible, formless, and inhuman demons that would make the boys from Lord Of The Rings drop a brick.
But seriously, this is the profound insight I had …
That we often screw ourselves up by trying to do our best.
Trying to do our best is what delays us, holds us back, and a lot of times stops us from even starting. It takes away our precious time and slows us down. It causes us to miss opportunities. It’s what eventually slows down our productivity to the point where our performance greatly suffers. It’s precisely what will doom many of us to mediocrity, the very same thing we were trying to avoid through all of our preparation and perfectionism in the first place
In no other field of high level human endeavor will you see competitors trying to do their best. They are more than happy with average.
Michael Jordan’s best game was 69 points against the Cavs on March 28th, 1990. He also scored over 60 on four other occasions, and over 50 several dozens other times. That was his him at his best.
But his scoring average is 30.1 points per game.
Kobe Bryant has the highest scoring game in recent history, an unbelievable 81 points.
But just like Jordan, his scoring average is just 25.0 points.
And Adrian Peterson set the single game rushing record in the NFL, at 296 yards in a single game.
His average is only 98.5 yards per game.
Can you imagine the pressure these guys would put on themselves if they were only happy with THEIR BEST every single time they went out?
How much over analysis they would do? How much over-preparation?
It would leave to so much anxiety that even their AVERAGES would be pulled down tremendously.
But at least they can leave it out there on the floor …
As entrepreneurs, we end up working on our plans and projects indefinitely, not letting them see the light of day, or having it happen way too late, because of the very same need to DO OUR BEST.
But these guys never demand their BEST out of themselves. They are happy with 30-40% of their best on a consistent basis. That alone is enough to make them some of the greatest to ever play their sports.
Maybe if we were all more comfortable with putting out 30% of our best on a consistent basis, we would be much more productive as well.
And remember, every now and then these athletes score at about 10% of their best. The lesson in that is you are allowed to screw up big time every now and then. Just get back to putting out your work at your usual levels.
Even in the field of business you’ll see the same abhorrence of perfectionism. Companies will set rigid deadlines on products and put them out, even if they aren’t perfect. That’s why you’ll see massively buggy products come out from Microsoft, constant and frequent upgrades from Apple, new and then killed promotions at Starbucks and McDonalds, and frequent recalls in the automotive industry.
So here’s the lesson for all of us (me included) …
Stop aiming for 81 points every time out …
Be happy with 25 …
And realize every now and then you’re going to score 10 points too – it comes with the territory.
As long you keep upgrading your skills, you’ll still end up one of the best to every play your game, whatever that is.
Happy New Year! Let’s make it a big one!