“Don’t give up what you want the most for what you want right now.”
-attributed to Peter Rossomando, Head Football Coach at CCSU
Image from wtvr.com
A characteristic shared by many of the most successful people is their ability to delay gratification in order to achieve their most highly desired objectives.
In the late 60s/early 70s Stanford University psychologist Walter Mischel did a study in which children ages four to six were given the choice between one marshmallow provided immediately, or two marshmallows if they waited for 15 minutes. In follow-up studies, the researchers found that those who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes.
What disciplined actions, behaviors, and habits must you develop in order to resist short-term wants so that you can realize your most cherished and valued priorities?
“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.”
—Walter Elliot, 19th Century Scottish Politician
Image from timemanagementninja.com
My daughter Rachel is one of the hardest working, most persevering people I know.
Over a six-year period during college and a few years beyond, she was involved in a 12-week summer sales program in which she worked over 80 hours each week.
Despite many challenges including bad weather, barking dogs, and of course, tons of rejection, she was committed to selling high-quality educational products. She broke her day into two-hour manageable blocks of time, which helped her manage her efforts in small short races, instead of being overwhelmed by the long road ahead.
How can you use Rachel’s strategy – running many short races one after the other – to demonstrate the perseverance you need to win your most important personal and professional races?
“The book that will most change your life is the book you write.”
—Seth Godin, American author and entrepreneur
It has been just over a year since I published The Quotable Coach – Daily Nuggets of Practical Wisdom. The process, from my first blog post to published book, took over two-and-a-half years.
I have always loved quotes. I enjoy the inner journey as I look at my own life. The 30 months of developing the book were far different in that I found myself digging deeper, and wrestling more fully than ever before. It was, without question, the extra efforts that resulted in the most profound gains I’ve experienced, professionally and personally.
If you were to write a book that would result in substantial growth, what would be the topic? How can you begin this process today? Possible first steps could be a journal entry, a blog post, or a short story.
“Be the kind of person you want in your life.”
Image from picturespider.com
When you got up this morning, brushed your teeth, washed your face, and looked in the mirror, who did you see? What were your thoughts about the person staring back at you? For the moment, leave out any and all references to your physical features and appearance.
Instead, focus only on those inner qualities that make you who you are. Consider the following qualities to start, and add a few of your own:
How will you, today and in the future, become even more of the kind of person you want in your life? Consider sharing your intentions with selective people—those you respect and admire for their wonderful qualities—to help hold you accountable for being the best version of yourself possible.
“Your smile is your logo. Your personality is your business card. How you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.”
—Jay Danzie, Success in Progress Inc.
Image from successfulandfit.com
Examine your personal and professional lives. Are the people in your communities buying what you are selling? Personal branding has been attributed to success in these domains, when it is done with sincerity and authenticity.
The quote “People do business with those they know, like, and trust” is attributed to Bob Burg, author of “Endless Referrals.” Take a look at those around you, specifically at your most trusted friends and advisors. How do their smiles, personalities, and the way they make you feel in their presence create that special enduring loyalty?
Go out of your way today to smile more often, share your most winning personality traits, and be sure to leave everyone you meet better off because of the time you spent together.
“Easy Street is a blind alley.”
Are you always looking for the path of least resistance and the easy way to navigate your world?
If so, you may have noticed a drawback from such a strategy. Consider people who don’t exercise and live sedentary lives. What do you notice about their relative health, well-being, and overall vitality?
Coaching is all about helping people stretch and push beyond their physical, mental, emotional, and sometimes their spiritual limits to open up bright new vistas of professional and personal possibilities and achievement.
How can you take a more challenging “road less traveled” today, to strengthen your capacity to clearly see and realize an extraordinary life?
“Big shots are little shots who kept shooting.”
– Christopher Morely, American Journalist, Novelist, Essayist and Poet
What are your favorite examples of people who achieved great success through the power of persistence? Some of mine are Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, and of course, Michael Jordan.
What are some of your own personal stories where you stayed the course to achieve some important professional or personal victory?
Consider how you might break your “big shot” wins down into daily “small shot” behaviors you can easily practice on your journey of personal mastery. If this exercise is one you enjoy, both the journey and the results will reward you.
Consider picking up a copy of one or more of the following resources to enhance your resolve to keep shooting to realize your most deeply held desires:
Three Feet From Gold by Sharon Lechter & Greg Reid
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson & John David Mann
The Power of Persistence by Justin Sachs
The Dip by Seth Godin
Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden
Want your own copy of “The Quotable Coach”? Click on the image below.
“There’s plenty of room at the top, but there’s no room to sit down.”
– Helen Downey (attrib.)
Look at the people you most admire in your professional and personal life.
How did they reach the top of your list? My guess is because of their values, their character, and the way they take a proactive approach to life.
Where would a “stand up and step forward” attitude help you take your rightful place among the people at the top of their game?
“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”
-Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis
Brené Brown, from her TED talk (see link below).
In recent years, the subject of “vulnerability” has received a great deal of media coverage due to the work of authors such as Brené Brown.
In two of her recent books, The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly, which are based on considerable research, she clearly debunks the idea that vulnerability is weakness and indicates that it is far more correlated with courage and strength, as Freud suggests.
Where would being vulnerable in either your professional or personal life demonstrate the strength of your commitment to something of great importance to you?
Consider watching Brené Brown’s TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability
“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”
– John Wooden, American basketball coach
mage from Flickr by Arlington County
I was enterprising as a young boy. At age 11, I mowed lawns during summer and shoveled snow during winter to earn money to purchase things I wanted. One winter day, I was headed out to shovel snow in our neighborhood, and my dad asked me to shovel our elderly next door neighbor’s sidewalk and not charge for the effort.
I must admit I hemmed and hawed, thinking this request unfair, and I remember my dad’s words, “It will build your character.” To this day, I can’t lift a shovel of snow without those words running through my mind.
What are the things you do or could do, without anyone knowing, that contribute to your character?
If you happen to be a coach, mentor, parent, teacher, or other service-oriented individual, how can you share today’s nugget of wisdom with the coach-able people in your life?