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!
Solid post, love your stuff!
Kaiser – I love your writing. T
his post couldn’t have come at a better time. I need to get my marketing out and I’m analysing and putting it off too much – I need to just get it out there.
I’m a high achiever, but have wasted a lot of time being a perfectionist.
Thanks for the motivation!
Do you shoot (for) your best every time or do it strategically? That’s what I’m not sure about. I have to admit, I try to go all out every time; when I don’t hit the mark, I learn where I failed but I know I didn’t fail because I didn’t put in 100%. By shooting for the moon and falling short, I learn where and how I fell, not just that I dropped. Make sense? -Barbara
Great stuff Kaiser:
Another post that’s straight to the point and “average”!
Interesting thoughts Kaiser.
The best example I can think of for myself is starting my own site, I wanted to get 30 posts up and written, amazing video done and so on…. But it would take forever to do that so I just started writing and started filming.
The goal went from perfection to daily content that my niche will benefit from.
You’ve got awesome content up here, thanks for it!
Wise beyond your years Kaiser. That one really hits home for me as I am sure it does for most. Thanks for helping me see things differently. I SPEND MORE TIME PLANNING THAN DOING. That ends today.
I see your point. However, I dont think that this post was saying dont try your best and go all out, but more so about not worrying about perfection but rather just taking action. (At least that’s what I got)
I was in this type of situation after I had made the decision to go solo. I was excited to run my own training business but I was putting unneccesarry stress on myself trying to make sure everything was “perfect” But this was actually holding me back. It was around this time that I invested in the Top Level Training Manual 2.0 . As a bonus to purchasing the TLT 2.0, I recieved a comp coaching call with Kasier and he helped me realize that overthinking can really delay your progress.
Just focus on being consistent and let things flow. Hope this helps:)
Hey James – you really got what I was talking about and are someone that’s really applying it –
James (and Kaiser): Thanks for the context. I misconstrued. I heard an example of what you’re talkin’ about today. A trainer (and friend) who’s about to fly solo, told me he may need writing help to add content to a low-content Web site he had to put out there in a hurry to land a contract.. He did what he could; we’ll build it out later. That’s what you were talkin’ about. Got it now. Thx. -b
Barbara: No problem. Yes your example is exactly what I meant. I am guessing that if your fellow trainer tried to perfect the website before putting it up he probaly would have missed an opportunity to land that contract. But he took action and was rewarded!
Kaiser: Appreciate it man.
This post hits home for me. May be one of the best post you’ve written Kaiser. I spend way too much time planning and not enough time doing. This changes today…
I have been guilty of these things for my entire life, but now am learning to just keep moving forward. This article is a great reminder of what we must do to succeed and not put on the breaks because we think what we have or are just isn’t good enough. Thanks Kaiser and all others for your input!!!
Awesome post, I needed this one. :) I’m excited to make 2010 amazing, already off to a good start. How about you Super Man!?
Hope all is fantastic with you.
I have sold something like 80 odd copies of my fitness ebook in the last 18 months, mainly because I was too paranoid about having my salesletter “perfect” before I drove traffic to it.
So I related MASSIVELY to this post. Thanks heaps Kaiser :)
BTW what a great place to put your opt in form!
Immediately after a kick butt post
Loved this one! Some awesome advice!