The Disciplines of a Champion — #4

by | Dec 29, 2020 | Leadership

Today we’re finishing up our series on The Disciplines of a Champion. If you missed any of the first three disciplines, you can catch up here: Discipline #1 of a Champion, Discipline #2 of a Champion, and Discipline #3 of a Champion.


Discipline #4: The Secret of a Champion 

A few years ago, I got the opportunity to be on the founding team of a startup. One of the sales employees we hired was a guy just out of college who I’ll call Sam. I really liked Sam because he was one of those “what you see is what you get” types.

At the end of our first year as a company, we were conducting a yearly review of all the departments. The meeting with our sales team was particularly tough because overall they had not hit their goals. When we got to the slide that showed how much the team had missed their goal, I noticed that Sam got an “oh crap” look on his face. Then he raised his hand and told us, “I think I made a mistake.” Our CEO responded back, “What do you mean?” Sam reluctantly said, “I hit my goal about a month ago and just stopped selling.” Needless to say, we were all shocked. 

Now, this could also be an illustration for the importance of management since his manager should’ve known that he had stopped selling, but that is a different story for a different day.

The secret that champions know is that success is more dangerous than failure. 

As Jim Collins says:

“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”

In order to not be taken captive by the enemy of good, we must stay hungry and humble.

We stay hungry by recognizing that our personal vision is never complete. We celebrate wins but then get back to work because there is more to accomplish. 

We stay humble by being self-aware. We need to constantly refine our strengths, compensate for our weaknesses, and minimize our blind spots. (I write more about the importance of self-awareness and how to become more self-aware here.


Game Plan

In what areas of your life have you settled for good or mediocre?

One of the best ways to figure this out is by evaluating your “life accounts.” A life account is a key area of your life, an area where you want to measure how things are going from time to time. 

On a scale from 1 to 5 (where “1” is the lowest, meaning you’ve settled for good or worse, and “5” is the highest, meaning you’ve been able to work toward being great), rate the following areas:

    1. Spiritual Life
    2. Marriage (if applicable)
    3. Health and Fitness:
    4. Personal Development
    5. Family
    6. Social Life (friends, neighbors, community)
    7. Professional Life
    8. Financial Health
    9. Fun and Recreation (hobbies)

Focus on the areas that are a “3” or below and create a plan to refine them. What actions can you take to move that area from good to great?


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