Everyone Wants the Keys to Success.
The challenge is that not everyone likes the ultimate answer. Because that answer involves things like patience, hard work, struggle, dealing with feelings of doubt, dealing with the obstacles that come up, dealing with the learning curve, handling the inevitable setbacks along the way, and a host of other things that are unique to everyone’s journey.
When I was a kid, I loved to play basketball. It’s something I had to give up once my knee was replaced, which was largely a result of all the years I played competitively, and especially as a result of playing barefoot for many years on asphalt. Something I don’t suggest now given what it does to your knees. Anyway, over time I became a very good offensive player. I never did put in the work required to be good defensively, but I could put the ball in the basket, and I could do it against very high-level players. I especially became very good at shooting from distance.
Since the 3-point shot became super popular and a major part of the game over the past twenty years, if you go to any park or gym and watch younger kids, they are all running around launching the ball from long range. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you are practicing from short range too.
I went to a basketball camp when I was about 15, and that was the experience that led me to become a good shooter. At this camp were several pros and college players, including a world-renowned shooting coach. What I learned that I have since applied and taught in my personal and professional development trainings over the past several years, is that it’s the smallest fundamentals that need to be worked on and mastered first, before you begin to apply them in a bigger way.
Becoming Excellent in the Little Shots Improves Your Capability to Grow into the Big Shots.
The first step in mastering shooting from the 3-point line is to master the shot from the one-foot line. Every day, when I would go out to the court to practice shooting, I would start by doing a “swish drill.” This is where you stand right under the basket (a foot away) and practice the proper motion of the release of the ball, with the proper backspin, elbow form, and bend in the knees. Each shot from one foot had to be a swish. I would require myself to swish the ball from one foot away, with proper form anywhere from 50 to 100 times before moving out to a slightly longer shot. This practice of the basic fundamentals built the muscle memory that would then be applied to any shot. Over time I became a dead-eye shooter from anywhere around 25 feet away and in. To this day, even though I don’t play anymore and rarely pick up a ball, I can walk into a gym and consistently make 8-9 out of ten from the free throw line, and after getting warmed up shoot pretty well from the 3-point line. Because the fundamentals are locked into my memory.
This practice took a LOT of patience and commitment, because there is nothing exciting about shooting fifty to a hundred shots from one foot away.
How Do You Apply This to Your Business or Other Pursuits?
This exact process is required for accomplishing anything of significance. I know that’s not a popular thing to say, because we live in such a “microwave” world where people want to know how they can short-cut the journey to success. But let’s be real, how’s that working out for most people? Sure, you can find the social media stories here and there about someone who was an “overnight” success. But is that really the truth? Or is it simply a way of packaging the story to use in marketing, so you will grab onto whatever program is being sold that will show you too how to short-cut success?
Every big pursuit is built on small, repeated steps that build the skills and small results that grow into the big success. These are then augmented by the other fundamentals relative to interacting with people and using your time the most productive way possible. Without accounting for these three areas of any pursuit (that will involve other people, and all will at some point), the journey likely become even more difficult than it naturally would be.
Let me give you a short example. Let’s say your pursuit involves having others be a part of the process of development, implementation, and then ongoing execution. Setting aside all the aspects of the actual work, you will have to have some measure of empathic communication skills to help the people who are in the boat with you. Empathic communication is a serious skill set…like being a good 3-point shooter. You can’t just work on empathic communication without working on the fundamentals (the one-foot shots) that create the foundation for this skill. You have to be excellent at listening, you have to be excellent at using questions, you have to be able to read non-verbal communication to some extent, you have to have strong self-awareness to know where your personal communication pitfalls are, and you have to manage your own emotions throughout this process. These are the platform skills that afford you the ability to properly communicate with empathy. There is no short-cut.
Aside from patience (which you’ll need to cultivate in abundance), and a deep “WHY” to keep you going through all the trials and disappointments you’ll inevitably face, here is the short list of “one-foot” shots to do daily to take you to the success you want.
Daily investment in your physical and mental health.
Daily investment in your most important relationships.
Without these first two, you will self-destruct, and self-sabotage your success, and if you are fortunate enough to still hit your target in spite of the damage you do, it will not have been worth it. I encourage you to read 3 Circles Living if you haven’t already.
Daily work on your fundamental personal skills (people and productivity).
Daily work on your pursuit.
This is the recipe, and there is no short-cut to any of these, and the good news is that not only can you become successful in the thing you are pursuing, but you will be able to realize a successful life.
Here is a fun little video I did several years ago that you may enjoy.
If you need some Coaching, or Training for your organization, reach out to me.
Many Blessings, Todd
P.S. If you would like a roadmap for living your best life, or what I refer to as your “richest life possible” check out 3 Circles Living.