Paulo Coelho once said that the secret to life is to fall down seven times and get up eight times .The problem with this thinking is that it might leave you wondering if your game plan is actually ‘made of the right stuff’. After all, who really enjoys ‘the school of hard knocks’, when there are far easier ways to move from good too great to greater. To fully unleash your potential professionally and /or personally, it’s far wiser to ’take heed’ of what the great champions know, what they do, and most importantly what they do not do. Here are three tips derived from the great champions of life and health. Surprisingly, many of the most powerful learnings come from when the great champions get it humanly wrong!
The great champions focus more on ‘the why’, than on ‘the what’.
One sure fire way to remain average in life, is to focus one’s primary energy on what one does in life – called ‘the what‘. The great champions do it differently. They choose to focus on ‘the why’. It’s the difference between being motivated to work, and being inspired to do. If you want to bounce out the bed in the morning and ‘tap dance to work ‘, it’s vital to articulate ‘the why’. Otherwise, you will be constantly seeking extrinsic motivation, or the next Christmas bonus. Intrinsic inspiration helps one to find significance and fulfilment in what one is doing, by asking the right questions. Why am I here? Why do we exist? Great brands are built by focusing on ’the why’.
The Coca Cola Company does not sell cold drinks – the what, they sell happiness – the why. Their purpose is to create happiness. Discovery does not sell medical aid, they sell vitality. They create vitality. Woolies do not sell food, they sell ‘the difference’ .Stuttafords do so sell clothes, they sell ‘success’. Landrover do not sells SUVs, they sell ‘beyond’ .BMW do not sell cars, they sell ‘pleasure’ .
Vodacom do not sell voice and data, they sell ‘power’. MNet do not sell programmes , they sell ‘magic’. Biznews does not sell news .They sell ’insight’. The list can go on and on , but the point is that a brand like Apple did not become the most valuable brand in the world by focusing on selling I Phones and I Pads , they focused on selling a concept called ‘think different‘. In a world of near product parity their customers buy ‘the why’. And it’s ‘the why’ that helps them to continually ‘up their game’. Microsoft is a great company because they empower people ‘to do more’. Starbucks became great through nurturing the human spirit one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time.
Personal brands are no different. Mandela sold ‘freedom’. Churchill became great by selling ‘hope’. Branson by selling ‘passion’. Great champions invest in their brands – ‘the why ‘– and then the world invests in them. The World buys ‘the why ‘, as great champions go beyond motivation to inspiration. They do more.
Let’s take an everyday example. An estate agent may become good by selling houses – motivated by earning more commission .But, a great estate agent is inspired by helping to elevate, enhance and enrich people’s lives. And sells more! Greatness is about shifting the focus onto the why! And it often boils down to just ‘one word’. What is your ‘one thing’? What will your ‘one word’ be in 2015– professionally and personally?
The great champions do not fight, they choose to conquer.
When faced with an adverse situation most people choose ‘to fight the good fight‘. Well, surprisingly this is the exact opposite of what the great champions choose to do. They do not engage in ‘the good fight’ per se. They know that it’s far wiser to seek to conquer. On Everest, nobody ever succeeds by ‘fighting the mountain’. Great mountaineers conquer Everest. They work with the mountain. They intuitively avoid turning challenges into constraints. However, many of us as emotionally driven human beings, often unwittingly turn challenges into constraints, and our game plans start to fill up with all the wrong stuff. Things start to go wrong and then we ask why? Conquering is all about ‘taking heed’. Any adverse situation carries with it ‘a universal message’ .The great champions never shoot the messenger ‘. They stay humble. They listen. They learn .They make the necessary changes to stay firm-footed on the road to human greatness. Sometimes, it may be to ‘simply do nothing’, sometimes it may require strategic tweaks, and sometimes it may require a radical tactical shift. The great champions are never adverse to change.
Many many years back a very wise Julius Caesar said ‘I came I saw I conquered ‘.
The great champions create life balance.
After injury lay-offs, American golfers Tiger Woods and Steve Sticker both attempted to reboot their golfing careers this past weekend at the Hero World Challenge. Speaking with experience, Steve Stricker summed it up aptly, by saying that golf is a game that is nearly impossible to play when one is not feeling 100 %.When you’re injured it derails your preparation and knocks your confidence down a peg or two. Closer to home this past weekend ,Welsh golfer Jamie Donaldson arrived at the Nedbank Golf Challenge (Million Dollar) running on empty. At the 2013 NGC he had played stellar golf to narrowly lose out to Thomas Bjorn, so he must have been ultra-keen to play again this year. But, it was not to be. On day two he pulled out with a severe migraine. After an energy sapping and emotional Ryder Cup performance as ‘anchor man’ on the final day, the NGC was one step too far for him in 2014. Last Friday, his physical symptom, in the form of a migraine, proved to be ‘the tipping point’ – a bodily message to push the stop button. A wise move by him to withdraw, considering the next step is called ‘burn out’ – which is a far more difficult scenario to bounce back from. This we have seen with other sporting greats this year alone.
Steve Stricker has it spot on, as one needs to be fully ‘at ease’ to perform in the game of golf – and the game of life. It’s called being in sync – in form – in balance. The great champions understand the unwritten universal law of life balance, which will always seek to restore life balance .It’s a potent life force that is seldom comprehended, often resulting in under performance, right through to many forms of mild to severe ‘states of dis/ease’. It reads as follows ‘ too much or too little of anything for too long – creates imbalance. Beware, as balance is what creates wellness (hence a state of ease), and imbalance is what creates illness (hence a state of dis/ease). A bodily symptom – ‘a universal message’ – will come to the fore when one knowingly or unwittingly creates any form of ongoing imbalance .So it’s always wise to ‘take heed’ before that symptom becomes a serious warning bell. Thankfully, Jamie Donaldson ‘took heed’ and withdrew from the tournament. And luckily, as the other players went out to face 40 + degree heat at Sun City on Friday.
Creating life balance is therefore vital if one wants to fully unleash one’s potential. Every one of us has one, and only one, human energy well. It’s an energy well filled up, or drained, from the three realms of life and health, namely physical, chemical and emotional. Most of us are pretty good at the first two, but what most people do not fully grasp, is that the emotional realm, is by far the most powerful life force. It’s the danger one where one can get it humanly wrong, as it often comes disguised. It can leave you wondering why this, why that, why me, why now? It can leave you mentally drained and with little chance of unleashing your full potential. Jamie Donaldson made a very wise choice not to drain himself physically, after having drained himself emotionally through the gripping Ryder Cup year. It’s the same energy well, whether one depletes it physically, chemically or emotionally.
If you want high emotional energy levels for 2015, here are the vital emotions to grab hold of, and importantly those to let go of .Firstly the six primary energy disrupters, that if allowed to stay in to play for any protracted period, will certainly drain you , and highly likely make you ill. They are Guilt, Resentment, Criticism, Fear, Hate and Futility/Self Pity. But, thankfully the six primary energy givers are far more powerful, as they are responsible for creating life balance. They are Unconditional Love, Gratitude, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Joy and Happiness. Focus on them and 2015 will be a breeze.
Gary Player, whilst commentating at Sun City this past weekend, highlighted the importance of gratitude in life. Gratitude is the force that champions use to unleash potential and achieve fulfillment in life .As Melody Beattie once powerfully wrote, ‘Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, hate into love, chaos into order, and confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace joy and happiness for today and creates a vision tomorrow.’
December is a magical month with a smorgasbord of choices to do whatever you like. It’s the month of well-earned reprieve, retreat, recreation and relaxation. Then come all the other R’s as in reflecting, refining, refueling and then rebooting for 2015. Make sure your game plan for 2015 is crammed full of more of ‘the right stuff ‘. Stand on the shoulders or the great champions of life and health, and reach for your own dreams. Here’s to wishing you a great festive season and a 2015 packed with performance and fulfillment.