“Act so as to elicit the best in others and thereby in thyself.”

“Act so as to elicit the best in others and thereby in thyself.”

–Felix Adler

This quote is perhaps one of the closest to the core message regarding coaching, which is “bring out the best in others.” Most people have an inherent desire to be their very best and to realize their fullest potential.

Many of our schools, our religious institutions, even our families, utilize an “outside-in” training method for development. This approach fosters conformity, and often limits creative self-expression.

Coaching comes from the place that many answers and capacities already lie within us. When others elicit these answers and capacities, the growth we experience is both more enjoyable and sustainable.

Exercise:

Who are the people in your life that elicit the best from you?

Where can you be a coach and elicit the best from others?

“It’s what you learn after you know it all, that counts.”

“It’s what you learn after you know it all, that counts.”

– John Wooden, basketball coach

Image of today's quote

When you hear a person say the phrase “I know,” it means that they have stopped listening. When a cup is full, it is impossible to fill it any further.

Consider the possibility that knowledge and wisdom are vital fluids that fill your life’s cup. What if the richness of life could only be held in your cupped hands? What a waste to limit yourself in this way.

Exercise:

How can you dramatically increase the size of your learning vessel, to allow greater knowledge and wisdom in?

How can you, as a scholar of life, have more of a beginner’s mind – and make your life count even more?

#81: “A man’s life is interesting primarily when he has failed…”

“… I well know. For it’s a sign that he tried to surpass himself.”

– Georges Clemenceau, French journalist, physician and statesman

The 2012 Olympic Games recently ended. Each country, team and individual was highly focused on winning gold. What did it mean to the individuals who did not make it to the Olympics, or who did not make it through the preliminaries, the semi-finals, or stand on the podium with a medal?

This year’s Olympics had about 16,000 athletes for a world that contains over 7 billion people. How many medals were actually won and how many athletes, by the lack of a medal, “failed”?

Consider how many other athletes experience the great, often quiet, victories of achievement – of achieving their personal best.

Exercise:

What would be necessary for you to continually strive to surpass yourself?

What would be involved in achieving a “ten” in living? Or, to put it another way, what would you need to do to achieve a gold medal life?

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#69: “There are powers inside of you, which, if you could discover and use…”

“…would make of you everything you ever dreamed or imagined you could become.”

– Orison Swett Marden

What are we capable of? What is our fullest potential as human beings? Perhaps we can consider the Guinness Book of World Records – or the Olympics – as a starting point.

We might think about great feats in areas such as:

  • Speed at running, or swimming (Ye Shiwen and Cameron van der Burgh both set new world records for swimming in the 2012 Olympics)
  • Endurance and strength (Kim Un-Guk set a weightlifting world record)
  • Throwing, climbing, jumping, shooting… (a team from the Republic of Korea set an archery world record)
  • Writing and speaking
  • Mathematics and sciences
  • Mastery in the arts, music, or other creative disciplines
  • Memory (such as in a spelling bee)

Exercise:

With the above capacities already realized by human beings, what would a “world-record you” be capable of?

Quotes are posted on The Quotable Coach a week after being sent out by email. To get the latest quotes straight to your inbox, pop your details in the sidebar to the right.

#23: “I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour…”

“…the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”

– Vince Lombardi

When my daughter Rachel was young, she loved to dance. In fact, she became very good and eventually became a member of one of the top dance studios in the country. Each time I dropped her off for practice, I said, “Do your best, and have fun.” The result was her being on the winning team for the national title during her final three years in high school.

My observation was that, when she did her best and gave her all, regardless of victory, she was a winner.

Exercise:

Where in your work or your personal life could you work your heart out for a cause and realize your finest hour?

Quotes are posted on The Quotable Coach a week after being sent out by email. To get the latest quotes straight to your inbox, pop your email address in the sidebar to the right.

#16: “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand…”

“… The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”

– Alexander Graham Bell

When I was very young, I remember using a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays and burn small holes in a piece of paper. I bet you did too.

With this idea in mind, I began to take interest in the concept that greater focus is also the source of greater achievement.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell established that it takes 10,000 hours of focused practice to achieve personal mastery.

Exercise:

What must you do less of (or stop altogether) in your life, so you can start or do more of other focused activities? Think about what matters to you most on your journey to personal and professional excellence.

Quotes are posted on The Quotable Coach a week after being sent out by email. To get the latest quotes straight to your inbox, pop your email address in the sidebar to the right.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is a habit.”

Image of hands holding up letters of "Excellence"“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is a habit.”

– Socrates

Over 95% of New Years Resolutions never come to pass. Inertia keeps things much the same. When change does come, it is often from outside us … and it is often unwelcome.

Exercise:

Here’s a simple three-step process to bring the discipline of personal excellence into your life:

1. List two or three things you really, really desire.

2. Identify the vital behaviors that are essential to achieving these desires.

3. Engage in these behaviors every day for a minimum of three weeks. Design as many social and structure supports as you can, in order to help you stay the course.