COMPETE EVERY DAY
Watch others – but don’t desire to be them.
One of the challenges I had with social media is the balance between learning from those who have succeeded in specific areas while trying not to envy them.
Social media is an incredible tool to use for learning. You can study how someone posts, how they use it to communicate about their business or build their brand. Clues are everywhere online.
Social media is also great for consuming great content, be it educational or entertainment. With the click of a follow/unfollow button, you can intentionally curate your feed to be things that interest you or people you want to learn from.
But there’s also a downside to using social media mindlessly.
The killer of joy, comparison, runs rampant on social media.
Everywhere you scroll is the perfect picture of someone doing something great. It’s not like anyone is posting big losses. We even intellectually know that social media isn’t the entire story, but it doesn’t make it easier to see certain “wins” such as likes, comments, or followers on a profile and not compare it to your own work.
You can clean out your “Following” list on Twitter or Instagram, go back and add only accounts that you want to learn from….and still struggle mentally seeing certain successes that you haven’t reached yet.
It feels like being on social media to learn only ends up creating more mental anxiety than mental growth in many of us.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The subtle shift starts with how we talk to ourselves and how we view our social media feed.
A leader’s goal with social media should be to use it to connect with like-minded people, engage those following you, and learn from those ahead of you who share how to get better. Here are the four steps I started taking to improve my relationship with social media & maintain better focus on my own race instead of comparing it to someone else’s version.
1. Control WHAT you consume.
I review my following list roughly once every other month.
On Instagram, I take two steps:
- 1. I review my feed to see if the content appearing is the kind I want to be consuming & taking note of how certain posts make me respond mentally, being sure to unfollow anything that causes an unhealthy response.
- 2. I review accounts I enjoy for who they follow and browse to see who I might want to add into my feed.
This keeps my feed fresh as well as my mind in a healthy space with the content.
On Twitter, I decided to:
- Clean out a majority of my “following” list. This became pretty easy during election season.
- Create private lists for accounts based on topic (Mental Performance, Leadership, Sales, My Teams, Friends, etc.. are just a few). This allows me to not be controlled by my feed but jump right into a topic.
This has changed my endlessly scrolling on Twitter to now using the platform for intentionally hopping on to learn/converse and then logging off.
You can’t consume crap & play at your best physically, so why would you mentally?
You don’t have to follow every account. Find the ones that add value to your mindset, relationships, & life, and unfollow the rest. It’s your feed, make sure you’re intentional with how you use it.
2. Control HOW long you consume.
It’s easy to get caught into the trap of scrolling for hours. If we’re going to start using social media to learn, we need to set boundaries for how long we’re using it. Classes have a bell to signal that it’s time to move on, use the same thing with your phone alarm.
I will try to post multiple times a day, but I try to limit getting into my feed (and scrolling) to two specific periods:
- To comment & engage users. I try to make at least 15 comments per day from the @CompeteEveryDay account to followers or users of a specific hashtag
- Scroll to see what specific people I follow have produced & shared that I can like or comment on to support.
In both instances, I’ve started setting a short alarm so that when it rings, I log off. We always work better under a deadline, so why not set one so we are more intentional with the feed versus what can become a negative habit of continually scrolling for fresh content.
3. Control WHY you consume.
A key to improving your relationship with social media and transforming it from a consumption-only feed toward a learning experience is understanding why you get online. It doesn’t matter to me why you want to consume certain content, but it should matter to you.
- Is it to learn how to improve your daily mindset?
- Do you scroll to learn how to build your business?
- Or are you using it to “keep up with the Joneses?”
Getting a better handle on why you spend time online will you help each time you log-on and how you interact with it. Knowing that you get online to connect with other people will push your focus toward commenting & engaging with new accounts instead of scrolling your own feed for hours. Understanding that you’re online to learn will help you set a boundary that you log-on, read something you can add commentary to or learn from, and then log-off.
Understand why you’re using the platform to improve how you’re using it.
4. Create FOR someone else to consume.
By now, we’ve controlled who’s content we consume, how long we’re online, and why we’re there. Now it’s our turn to create something valuable for someone else.
- Don’t worry about your likes
- Don’t worry if “no one sees it”
- Only focus on how your next post can encourage, entertain, or support someone else.
We want to be leaders who add positive value to the mass content that is social media – not someone adding to the crap that’s already on there. Find something you learned from someone else, share it in your own words or with added commentary (link back if you quote them direct) and keep paying the value forward.
It’s hard to be worried about how you compare to this person or that person when you’re locked into how you can help someone who already follows you.
As a growing leader, social media can provide an incredible opportunity to learn and develop your skills. There are amazing accounts to follow that consistently provide strong value. Remember that the platforms are meant for connection, not comparison.
Get on. Learn something. Share something. Then get offline and go make moves.
What comes first for your team?
Do they hear you bark instructions about what standard they should be performing up to or do they see you modeling the standard in your actions?
Leadership isn’t just lip service, contrary to how most managers act today. It’s a lifestyle first and foremost.
Stock the coolers.
I grew up working in the small gas station my Dad owned in east Texas. I’d spend summer days sweeping dirty parking lots, cleaning gas pumps, and stocking the cooler with soft drinks & water before I could play with my neighborhood friends.
I hated every minute of it.
On occasion, my dad would jump in and help me stock the cooler or change out a soda line that had run out of syrup. I initially didn’t understand why he was doing that. Didn’t he pay employees to do all of this? Wasn’t he paying me to do it as well? I finally asked him one day why he chose to jump in and do these small tasks instead of just telling his employees to do them.
“I have great employees who can do the work, but many times during life, a leader has to get in there and do the work himself.”
He went on to teach me about the importance of modeling the standard for your team. My Dad shared that it didn’t matter what position you are in a company – CEO or newest entry hire – leadership is first and foremost about how you live your life. Once you model the standard in your actions, only then can you expect your team to meet that standard.
Great leaders are never too arrogant to roll up their sleeves and sweep the parking lot if that’s what the company needs to succeed.
“Besides,” he told me, “if I’m going to ask my team to do a task, I need to show them that I’m willing to do it too. Nothing is beneath me or them.”
Set the standard.
ESPN’s documentary The Last Dance profiled how tough of a leader Michael Jordan was on his fellow Bulls teammates. He was ruthless in how hard he pushed his teammates, often beyond what was required. However, despite this tough persona, his teammates went on to share about how a) they needed that type of leadership in order to become a six-time world champion, and b) Jordan never asked them to do something he wasn’t willing to do himself.
If he yelled at you to practice harder, he was pushing himself to the brink of failure during practice. If he said weights at 4am, he’d be finishing his first set at 3:59am.
Jordan understood that in order to push his teammates to new heights, he must be willing to pay the same price first so they could see what it looked like. Only then did he earn the right to push them to the same level.
Model the behavior first – then ask others to meet that same behavior. Too often, managers feel that their role entitles them to do the opposite, or honestly, just tell their teams what to do and not worry about modeling it themselves.
But that’s bad leadership – and a culture-killer at that. Who wants to follow the person who constantly tells people to do one thing, only to watch them behave in a completely opposite manner?
You can tell your team what to do and what standard to live up to – but only after you have first modeled that standard for them.
Your walk talks louder than your talk. Does your team see your walk first or hear your talk?
One of the biggest “misses” that companies make in trying to build a winning culture is forgetting vulnerability.
Vulnerability is crucial to a strong company culture & a leader’s ability to influence because it’s that one thing that allows true connection between you and the people you’re trying to influence.
Here are three ways to inject a level of vulnerability into your team to foster a championship culture.
What matters most to you – winning or getting all of the credit?
Michael Jordan was quickly emerging as one of the top players in the NBA as he started his second season in the league. He came out on fire during the first few games of the 1985 season before fracturing a bone in his foot during an October game against the Golden State Warriors.
The Chicago Bulls began to crater without their star second-year guard, going a disastrous 17-33 in the first half of the season. But, as we saw in ESPN’s The Last Dance documentary, hope wasn’t completely lost. #23 was coming back.
Jordan rehabbed relentlessly and returned in mid-March to the court. Worried about the long-term health of their franchise star, Bulls’ ownership imposed a “7-minutes-per-half” restriction on him. It didn’t matter how great he was playing, or how close the game was, once he hit his minute limit, he was benched for the remainder of the half/game.
The boiling point came on April 9, 1985, when battling for the final playoff spot, Jordan hit his (then) minutes restriction – with 30 seconds left in a one-point game. He fought his coach, who was being told he’d be fired if Jordan played one more second.
It had to be one of the most frustrating moments in Jordan’s life after he’d scored 15 fourth-quarter points to bring his team back. The opportunity to compete was being taken out of his hands. He was angry and helpless to aid his teammates in that moment. He was seething at the Bulls front office as he took a seat on the bench that night.
Almost every one of us can relate to the feeling of having the power to influence a result taken out of our hands.
In many situations, we sulk, whine, or complain about the situation. “It isn’t fair” that they get the chance and I don’t. Our focus has gone from winning and team success, to “what about me?” We focus on our feelings, suddenly apathetic to how the team does because it’s no longer about us.
This isn’t about sports either.
Watch the last 30 seconds of the Bulls-Pacers game in The Last Dance. You’ll see Bulls guard John Paxton hitting a game-winner and the first person off the bench to celebrate the win is Michael Jordan.
The same All-Star player who was just benched by management is on the court hugging and celebrating the win with his teammates when so many others would stay on that bench or go to the locker room because they didn’t get take the winning shot.
That moment right there showed Jordan’s uncanny leadership and focus on simply winning.
It’s also a clear reminder that as leaders, greatness requires us to focus on winning results, not getting all of the attention. Is it any surprise that the winningest team captains in sports history are about the team and not just their own awards?
- Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
- Derek Jeter (New York Yankees)
- Anyone on the New Zealand All-Blacks
Leaders – winners in sports and life – care about winning. Period.
It’s not about the individual attention or praise, it’s about making sure no matter what, we as a team win.
When a friend hits a big goal, we should celebrate with them – and be motivated to raise our own game.
When someone on our team gets to make the presentation for a successful client project, we should celebrate with the team that the client is happy – not complain and add negativity to our culture that we weren’t chosen to present.
If you crave the attention, you’ll rarely get the wins. If you crave the wins, you’ll easily get the attention.
Leaders on winning teams care about winning – not the attention.
Compete to do the same this week.
I originally sat down and wrote this to you about two hours before I took the stage for 350 insurance industry leaders at a conference in Nebraska. Odd time to write an article, right?
Then Covid-19 hit the nation and changed everything, so I decided to shelf this post. I had planned to keep it in the drafts until I received a few messages from some of you about not feeling qualified enough to start *that* project. It was the perfect reminder of the one thing high-achievers all face:
Feeling like you’re about to be “found out” and kicked out.
Here’s a moment of transparency for me that I wanted you to know what I mentally deal with prior to a keynote presentation.
I had given that specific keynote presentation at least thirty times in the last two years. I actually got this specific gig because someone saw me give this talk in October and referred me to the client. It’s my second most popular talk, which means I should be 100% confident in it, right?
You see, every time I’m preparing to speak I face imposter syndrome. Yes, even a few years into this business I hear the whispers that say “you don’t belong.” I spent this morning rehearsing my gig for the 20th time in the past few weeks. I know my content. I know I’ve practiced. I know I’m ready – but that still doesn’t stop the voices.
- What if my content isn’t actually that good and I’m a fraud?
- What if this is the audience that doesn’t laugh at any of your jokes?
- What if…what if…what if…
That (evil little) voice will try to convince you that you don’t belong. Here’s the thing – every single high achiever hears that voice.
They just refuse to let that voice stop them.
Imposter syndrome isn’t common among people who settle. The ones who are content to keep things “as is” don’t hear it, nor do those who give a crap effort.
It’s only people who are stepping outside of their comfort zone to try and do something bigger or new that hear it. Which means that every time you hear the voice of Imposter Syndrome it should signal to you that YOU’RE ON THE RIGHT PATH.
That voice’s appearance means you’re growing.
Right now, many of you have more time on your hands than you’re used to. You keep toying with that idea of starting a blog, building a side hustle, or even just using this time to step up and encourage others with videos or short posts. But then you stop.
You hear the whispers that “other people are more qualified to do it, so why would anyone want to hear from you” and you listen to them. So you do nothing.
You let the voices win when you do nothing, but in reality, they’re wrong.
The sound of that voice should remind you that you’re preparing to step outside of your comfort zone – and to embrace this moment as the chance to get better.
Average people would hear that voice and let it talk them out of doing anything of value. Competitors hear that voice, acknowledge they’re on the right path, and then get to work.
When I hear that voice, I immediately:
- Start my positive self-talk (audibly).
- Remind myself of the intentional rehearsal work I’ve put in for hours for this. I know I’m ready.
- Control my breathing.
- Talk back to that voice. I remind it that I’ve done this talk before and when I step on the stage, it’s my opportunity to help others and improve my work.
If I can remind myself that I’m prepared for the moment and that the talk isn’t actually about how good I look (but how much can I help the audience), that voice tends to shut itself up.
It’ll work the same for you, too.
More than anything, right now this world needs people to step up and use their voice. We need more encouragement, more helping hands, and more art/business/music/things created. We need imposter syndromes silenced so leaders – leaders just like you – can step up and lead.
Don’t let the voice of Imposter Syndrome stop you. Let it signal that you’re on the right path and then put your head down and get to work.
I’m cheering for you.
Is that someone using your favorite coffee mug again?
Is that someone in a sour mood, all of the time, and seems to just drain the life out of the office?
Is that someone sitting right next to you every single day?
I’ve been there with a coworker too. You get an almost knot in the pit-in-your-stomach, please God don’t interact with me today, feeling every morning as they walk in. You dread having to deal with *that* coworker because no matter how excited you are going into a day, they seem to drain the ever-living-soul from you.
How is an aspiring leader supposed to deal with *that* negative coworker?
Most of us can relate to being forced to deal with a less-than-stellar teammate. From little league sports to our first corporate job, the chances are high that we’ve had to work closely with someone we don’t necessarily like. Anytime you take a group of people with diverse personalities, agendas, and backgrounds, throw them together on one unit, and you’ll have an adjustment period.
Did anyone else get stuck doing all of the work for your class project like I did?
School projects. Youth/High School sports. Corporate teams. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a team where everyone loved being around everyone else.
And guess what? That’s ok. You don’t have to like everyone – but it’s your responsibility as a leader to help them.
It’s never ideal to have friction with a coworker, yet it happens every day in offices and locker rooms. People are thrown into a situation and despite needing to work together, will still butt heads. And we both know this one fact: some people simply love being negative.
All of the time.
It’s as if they embrace being miserable. I don’t understand it, and I’m sure if you’re reading this, you don’t either. However, it’s on us to still work with them – even if they’re a pain in the butt.
Leaders are the ones who can successfully navigate these tricky people and still excel beyond the immediate situation because they know how to do this:
We 100% control…
- Our attitude
- Our effort
- Our actions
- Our focus
…every day. We each face situations and individuals outside of our control, but only we dictate these four things in our lives. Unfortunately, most people seem to forget that they 100% control these things.
- Bad attitude? Blame it on your negative coworker.
- Poor effort? Blame it on the fact you wish you had a different job.
- Complacent? Blame it on the idea that you “just don’t have the same motivation” as so-in-so
It’s easy to blame others for our bad attitude, effort, or lack of action. It’s easy to show up with anything less than our best when we don’t love our job or the people we work with. That’s easy.
But easy isn’t what makes us proud – or a great leader stand out. Blaming others for our controllables is simply creating an excuse to shift the responsibility off of us and onto others. But it’s not their fault, it’s ours.
That coworker may be toxic to work with, but they don’t control how hard you work. You do. It’s still 100% up to you if you:
- Choose to adopt their negative behavior or learn to ignore it.
- Engage in their game of misery, or encourage them (relentlessly some days) to change their perspective.
What your coworker chooses to do shouldn’t impact how you show up and what you do. However, if it continues to escalate, here are four things you can do to (directly) address the situation:
- Control your controllables. Despite their negativity, remove yourself from situations involving them (happy hours, water cooler talk, etc) and commit to yourself that you’ll maintain a positive attitude with your teammates. Focus on what you control.
- Have a direct conversation with the employee. You shouldn’t be rude or aggressive, but there are healthy reasons for having a candid conversation with your coworker about how their negative or toxic behavior is impacting you, your work, and the environment that you both share. Ask them if something is going in their personal life or why they might feel negative. In some instances, the individual is acting out because they don’t know how to process a situation outside of work.
- Discuss the situation with HR or your direct boss. If direct conversations fail, schedule a meeting with human resources or your manager to discuss your coworker’s behavior and how it’s negatively influencing the culture. Share steps you’ve taken to remedy the situation and some potential solutions you believe could help everyone involved. Make sure you’ve taken personal steps to talk with the coworker before immediately meeting with your superiors or HR so it’s apparent you’re interested in helping your team.
- (If all else fails) Look for a new opportunity elsewhere. There are some instances that a compromise or positive solution can’t be found due to the employee’s position, overarching situation, etc. In these cases, your best option may be to look for employment in a new organization. One thing to keep in mind when interviewing – make sure you interview your interviewer heavily about their culture and addressing toxic employees so you have a strong grasp of how they operate and what they do/don’t tolerate.
It doesn’t matter if we’re a high school athlete or a VP of sales for a nationwide organization, we will work with people who we don’t always “click” with. Most people use it as an excuse to shirk responsibility off of themselves.
Leaders should hold themselves to a higher standard. They control their controllables – their focus, effort, attitude, & actions – and don’t give that control to a toxic coworker.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is already a household name, regardless if he wins Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV. The East Texas native made waves in football during his first year as a starter in 2018, earning league MVP honors. Mahomes is a special athletic talent, but one thing that sets him apart from others playing his same position is his leadership style.
See what I mean in this clip below:
Down 24 points to the Houston Texans in his team’s first playoff game this season, Patrick can be seen on the sidelines encouraging his teammates and pumping them. He was facing overwhelming odds – losing 24-0 – but remained at least on the outside, positive and focused on helping his teammates stay locked in. He’s shouting positive words to “do something special” and simply focus on the next play.
“One play at a time. Do something special.”
You didn’t catch him whining. You didn’t hear him cursing out defensive players for giving up 24 points. You only saw him trying to keep everyone focused and believing they could get back in this game.
And get back in this game they did, outscoring the Houston Texans 51-7 in the time remaining.
It’s common to see athletes put their heads down on the bench, see the frustration on their faces, or hear the expletives shouted at a couch or teammate when their team is losing by multiple scores. That’s common in sports.
It’s also common in life. We pout, sulk, or whine when things don’t go our way. We don’t get the promotion we believe we deserved. We get injured and miss a physical goal we’ve set. Life deals us a bad break that’s completely outside of our control but derails what we expected to do. It’s common in those frustrating moments to be negative and blame the situation or others for our predicament. That’s common.
That’s also why great leadership is not common.
A leader’s ability shines brightest when the situation seems darkest. A great leader stays positive despite a turbulent storm and does their best to keep their teams in positive spirits too. What Patrick Mahomes did on that Sunday – and seemingly every Sunday you seem him on an NFL sideline – is special. It has nothing to do with his talent level (which is astronomical) but everything to do with his choices.
He intentionally chooses to take a positive attitude and look for the opportunities instead of whine and stare at the obstacles. The mark of a positive leader is unquestionably visible when things aren’t going as planned. They stay positive. They encourage their team. And they focus on the most important thing – what they can do next.
It doesn’t matter if your arena is a football sideline, a business office, or your own home. Your ability to be a positive leader doesn’t have to do with your title or talent, but your choice to intentionally want to be one.
And if you need a good example, look at the Kansas City sidelines this weekend for #15.
The world lost a legend today when Kobe Bryant and four passengers were tragically killed in a helicopter crash. It’s the first time a famous person’s death has actually shaken me. I hugged my wife. I text my best friend. It was a sobering reminder of how fragile life is and that despite our best precautions, we never know when today will be our final one.
I always process emotions best through writing. Putting my thoughts down helps me process my feelings inside and try to find peace when my insides feel like they’re in the midst of the storm. Kobe and I never met but, like many sports fans outside of Los Angeles, would classify our relationship as a “rollercoaster.” As a Dallas Mavericks fan, he tormented us in the regular season, going 42-22 against us, including one game where he dominated us by outscoring the entire Mavs team 62-61 through three quarters in 2005.
He was the type of player you loved to sports-hate (as Shea Serrano would say). He was incredible to watch, playing with everything he had every night. He had ice in his veins and a fire in his heart that you love when it’s in your team’s best player – and hated when he’s playing your team. No matter how you felt about playing him, Kobe was one of those special players who always had your respect.
Kobe made himself into one of the top 5 best ever to pick up a basketball. He retired from the game in 2016 but remained a fixture in basketball, attending WNBA games, Lakers games, and investing his time into building & creating the second phase of his life post-playing career.
The one thing Kobe Bryant did well? Compete. Love or hate him, you cannot deny that he was one of sports’ fiercest competitors. Reflecting back on his career after today’s devastating news, I can clearly see the five lessons I learned watching Kobe grow up in front of my eyes on the Staples Center court and social media after retirement.
1. Everyone messes up. How will you respond and choose to be better?
Kobe made mistakes on and off the court throughout his NBA career. No one is perfect, and Kobe was intentional in rebuilding his image and character reputation after those early shortcomings. He invested heavily in launching new brands, supporting the WNBA, and making loads of time for his growing family.
It’s likely we will fail at one point in our professional career or personal life. Mistakes happen, but what matters is how you learn from it and grow. Our response is the most important.
2. Success requires that you be relentlessly driven for your most important goal.
Watch this short clip:
Kobe is so focused on his goal & objective that the fake pass doesn’t even cause him to flinch. He’s unphased at the distraction, committed to guarding his opponent. Kobe was a relentless competitor who remained fixated on winning championships and being one of the best ever. Just the same, our biggest achievements will require a relentless commitment to reaching it.
3. Never let the same obstacle/opponent stop you twice.
What separates greats from all-time greats is their ability to self-assess, diagnose weaknesses, and turn those flaws into strengths.Kobe Bryant, The Mamba Mentality
After reading The Mamba Mentality, it’s apparent Kobe’s off-court work ethic was unmatched. He constantly worked to improve his skills and studied his opponents so that he could understand his own weaknesses, where they attacked him, and how he could turn those weaknesses into strengths. Successful leaders build their self-awareness and study their competition. If they fail once, they learn how and why so they don’t fail the same way twice.
4. Treat every day as if it’s your last. End on empty.
Fast forward to the 28-minute mark for why Kobe chose “24”
Kobe practiced & played with a “today’s the day” mindset. He knew that this day was the only one he controlled and made sure to put his heart, soul, & every ounce of effort into it. His style of play – never taking a night off – is one reason he was one of the best players. He was never going to just “give” you an easy night. Every game you had to earn it if you wanted to beat him because he wasn’t going to willingly give up any ground.
One phrase I’ve used for years is “End on Empty.” It’s the idea of leaving behind the question of “what if” and emptying everything you have into every day for the goals you’ve set and people you love. We should aspire to finish each day and be done with it, knowing that we gave everything within us for the things and people that are most important to us.
5. Your pursuit of greatness will create your power of impact.
Know that if you strive for greatness, your influence & impact will stretch farther than you ever know. You will impact people you’ll never meet. Your legacy will be remembered by the positive mark you left on others’ lives. Pursue greatness so you can make a great impact.
Millions are mourning Kobe’s passing today. Most had never met the iconic Laker, but you can’t deny his game, mindset, & life greatly impacted them.
How they shot fadeaways in that empty basketball gym.
How they attacked their workouts.
How they relentlessly attacked their life.
Whenever we choose to pursue greatness, we will positively impact people we’ll never meet. You don’t do that by playing it small, accepting limits, or trying to blend it. You only do that when you pursue greatness as he did on and off the court.
How do we honor Kobe?
We honor Kobe Bryant’s legacy by how we live. We embrace his Black Mamba tenacity for the goals & people we believe are most important.
And we make sure that no opponent will ever contain us. R.I.P. Black Mamba.
It doesn’t matter how exhausted or hurt you are, we never ring the bell.
One of the most well-known parts to BUDS initiation is the infamous Hell Week. It’s a five-day training period designed to push potential Navy SEAL candidates beyond the point of exhaustion. Candidates will sleep four hours or less over the five-day period as instructors push them past their perceived limits. The completion rate varies between 20-30% per graduating class.
Any aspiring SEAL can quit Hell Week at any moment. The only way out is to walk over and ring the bell three times, signaling you’ve given up. The bell is a sign of defeat – that you weren’t mentally strong enough to endure. The few newly graduated SEALS who survived Hell Week had to commit to themselves that they would never ring the bell. In other words, they would never give up and be gritty enough to endure anything their instructors sent at them.
Among other characteristics, the Navy SEALS demand grit from their members and the ability to persevere through expected (and unexpected) tribulations in the pursuit of a future goal. It’s no wonder they’re one of the most successful organizations in our country. SEALS are put into the most dangerous of situations and expected to perform flawlessly under pressure, remain optimistic about their success, and work together as one unit for a common goal.
How could your company benefit from that same level of team performance?
While they may not perform to the level of our US Navy Seals, they can begin to build the necessary grit & mentality that would elevate their performance in relation to your organizational goals. Here are four ways you can encourage grit within your organization.
1. Clearly Communicate Your Main Goals
Does everyone in the organization know your company’s main goal & their individual role’s goal? Knowing where you’re going, and in many cases, how long it will take you to get there helps someone maintain their grit to continue pursuing the goal. If your end goal is far off, how clearly are key checkpoints along the way communicated so team members know what they’re aiming for in the short term and will be able to realize it when they’ve arrived.
It’s nearly impossible to maintain your forward progress and positive attitude when you’re pursuing something that you have no idea how long it will take. Consider why marathons show mile markers throughout the race. Each point helps boost the confidence of runners while also keeping them focused on their pace/progress during the course. Establishing short-term checkpoints help reinforce motivation for the longer, big picture pursuits.
2. Use Language Optimistic About Future Growth
It’s imperative that we use language that is positive and encourages a growth mindset in order to build grit within our employees. According to Angela Duckworth, gritty people are hopeful and use matching language. They don’t just wait and wish for good things to happen to them, but instead are active in creating the results they want for their career/health/life.
Leaders within an organization can encourage grit within their team by using empowering language to support the development of future skills & goal achievement. Replace phrases “I can’t,” “I have to,” & “I don’t know” with positive phrases “I won’t,” “I’m going to,” and “I’ll discover how.” Reinforcing language that supports an employee’s effort, positive attitude, and ability to grow in their skillset and role gives them focal areas to develop, helping to reinforce their grit.
3. Identify Places Team Members Have Already Displayed Grit
One way to help your team identify grit as a skill they can continue to hone is to identify past examples where individually and collectively they’ve shown grit. For those who don’t believe themselves to be gritty, directly identifying how they positive responded to a challenge or difficulty can open their eyes to how they have some grit – and where they can develop more. Another idea would be to host an open discussion over lunch around a challenging situation your team worked through in order to show them collectively the grit of your organization to persevere through (and overcome) challenges
4. Ask Interviewees About Times They Struggled or Failed
It’s easy to look at our current team members and ask how to develop more grit, but one area often overlooked is during our recruiting and interview process of new employees. It’s important that you look for gritty traits as you add new team members to your culture so they help add to the overall atmosphere within your company’s walls.
Ask candidates about times were they struggled and how they overcame said struggles. Find out what passions they have outside of work and what they did to cultivate their skills in that area. Consider how an accomplished athlete or musician has invested countless into practicing their skills so they can perform on game day. That focus and long-term vision to practice relentlessly display the type of grit that leads to success for an employee in an organization
Grit doesn’t just happen. It’s intentionally built.
Gritty organizations don’t just happen. Cultures don’t just happen to persevere through challenging, stressful seasons. They intentionally survive them because of the work done prior to injecting grit into culture and employees. It’s not an instant change, but it can be done with an intentional focus on these four steps starting this week.
I’ve shared my favorite reads from over the years on my website here, but thought it would be beneficial to you if I shared a monthly recap of what I read during the past 30 days and what value you can expect if you choose to invest time into reading them too.
November ended up being a more hectic month than anticipated with our Compete Every Day releases and last-minute speaking gigs, so I only finished two books (both great ones though!). I’m looking forward to December vacation and travel in order to dive into 3-5 books this month!
Have a recommendation for a good book to read in the future? I’d love for you to email me and let me know!
Clockwork – Mike Michalowicz
If you can’t take a break from your business without it breaking you, you are setting yourself up for failure.
That’s a central theme in Mike’s book Clockwork. I became a huge fan of Mike’s work a few years ago when his book Profit First completely changed my perspective (and approach) to my business’ finances. It wasn’t an easy, overnight change, but it was the book that opened my eyes to what could be and helped me lay the groundwork for implementing a system that helps me thrive – instead of just thrive. Clockwork has had that same effect. In fact, I committed to reading it this second time after my first attempt was with an audiobook and I wasn’t as effective taking notes (or implementing everything) as I wanted to be.
I’ve been intrigued by this book since first learning about Mike’s work on it through a friend who is on his team. She’s a master at efficiency and operational excellence, and I knew this book could be a game-changer for my work. You see, I spent many years as a business owner being the source of our ineffectiveness. I kept too much information in my head and too many activities on my plate instead of helping myself and helping my team by getting them off of my plate so I could focus on what I do best. Clockwork helped me identify our most important priorities – and start setting my team up for success with activities that align with those priorities.
If you’ve ever felt like there’s no time for vacation, no way your business can thrive without you, or the idea of a 30-day vacation from your business sounds LIKE A COMPLETE FAIRYTALE, I want to challenge you to invest time this month to Clockwork. It may just change your business.
And your life.
Grab your copy of Clockwork here.
Build a Better Brain – Peter Hollins
Whenever one of your mentors recommends a book, you read it as quickly as you can.
This was the case with Peter Hollins’ Build a Better Brain: Using Neuroplasticity to Train Your Brain for Motivation, Discipline, Courage, & Mental Sharpness. Hollins takes a deep dive into the study of how our brains work – and more importantly, how we have the ability to rewire them in order to become the type of person with the type of habits we wish to have.
Neuroplasticity can be incredibly dense study, but Hollins does a great job of simplifying his teaching and using easy-to-digest examples for the reader. If you’ve ever wondered how your brain works, or wish you could reprogram aspects of your thoughts & habits in order to achieve success in your life, pick up this book. It will provide you the groundwork for understanding how you can optimize your performance, happiness, and habits.
Grab your copy of Build a Better Brain here.
With the holidays here, I’ll have extra time while traveling to continue my reading to finish this year strong!
Have a question for me about one of the books? Share a comment below!