I get asked often as a coach and business manager what goes into the making of a successful team. Seems everybody is in search of a sneaky shortcut or a golden rule that guarantees victory both on the ice and behind the desk. I preach confidence, ownership and education as the path to success both to my players and employees. Truth be told, I’d trade all three for maximum effort.
As a coach, I’m a firm believer that practice makes perfect. I take that same mentality with me into the business world. It’s an easy concept that is generally accepted that I feel is not fully developed. I think it better said, practice makes perfect, and perfect takes effort. I don’t usually have a problem with motivating my employees or players to get amped up when it comes to high stress, high performance moments. Very little encouragement is required to get the kids ready to play a hockey game where they are eager to give max effort. Likewise, my employees know and understand that preparedness for sales meetings and conference presentations is required where their professional name is on the line. Success in those moments doesn’t come from luck, or lack of said preparation from their opponent (or competing firm). It comes from the ownership of responsibility that you have put in the work (the effort) to be prepared for that moment which allows you to be confident in your actions. How much “A” game effort you have put in through the preparation process for your big moment, goes a long way towards the success of that moment.
It can become challenging motivating the kids to bring their “A” game every single day. During non game days, the boys struggle to not get bogged down in the monotony of practices, off-ice training and required community or team events. Similarly, professionally it can become difficult to continue to produce at a high level when you are constantly being dragged down by meaningless paperwork, unproductive meetings and cumbersome procedures. That does not mean the effort in those areas and in those times should be reduced. How much effort you put forth each day in the preparation of your big moments is integral for future success. Practice makes permanent* and lazy work ethic and practice attitudes sabotage your confidence in big moment situations. That’s why it’s imperative that you give max effort every single day in advance of the big moments.
It’s easy in hockey to know when your big moments are coming through the benefit of having a schedule for the season. The same cannot be said in life. Giving your “A” game daily increases your success rate when sudden big moments arrive. When the next big moment isn’t known, we should simply treat each moment as if it’s your big moment, by putting in the effort to guarantee your success. That’s why every day deserves your effort “A” game.
*Sorry, couldn’t resist a Coach Taylor Friday Night Lights reference.