Excelling At The Next Level - Grow Great Daily Brief #114 - December 4, 2018

Excelling At The Next Level – Grow Great Daily Brief #114 – December 4, 2018

I live in Dallas/Ft. Worth. This is a pro sports town. This season it’s a pro sports town with 3 sensational rookies, representing 3 different sports.

Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. Age 22. The National Football League.

Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic. Age 19. The National Basketball Association.

Dallas Stars rookie Miro Heiskanen. Age 19. The National Hockey League.

These professional athletes aren’t merely serviceable, they’re outstanding. Leighton Vander Esch played college football for Boise State. He was good, but at the NFL level, he’s great.

Luka with the Mavericks basketball team is a seasoned veteran having played against grown men much of his life, but at the NBA level, he’s fearless, unintimidated and spectacular.

Miro is from Finland where he’s had extensive hockey experience, but at the NHL level, he’s as confident and capable on the ice as anybody.

Three very young, inexperienced (at least at their current level of competition) players who are proving as successful or MORE SO at these highest levels of their sports.

Local sportscasters and sports talk show hosts have marveled at these young athletes playing at such high levels in their first years as professionals in the most competitive leagues in the world. Some have wondered how it’s possible, noting that as good as they were at lower levels of play — they’re even better now.

You just never know.

198 players were selected in the 2000 NFL draft ahead of Tom Brady. At pick number 199 Brady barely cracked the top 200 of players drafted that year. He’s a surefire Hall of Famer, having played 18 seasons at the highest levels possible in his sport. Who knew? Well, everybody knows now.

We know what we know. We think what we think. And what we think is our reality.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been fascinated with the human brain, how we think and how it shapes our reality. I’m no expert, but I think we can all agree that our future reality begins in our how mind. First, we think it. We believe it. Then we behave, act and make decisions according to those beliefs. Our actions bring about the results to make what was once just an idea, thought or belief a reality. It’s more complex than that, but from my simpleton’s point of view that pretty much sums it up.

It means that our ability to excel at the next level – whatever the next level may be for us, or our business – depends largely on our belief that we can excel at the next level. The three rookies here in Dallas have extraordinary skills, but their skills appear more obvious at this highest level than they did even at lower levels. In other words, they seem better at this level. It’s like this toughest of environments is where they shine most.

It begs the questions, “What if you could perform even better at a higher level? What if there are significantly higher levels of performance in your future, but you can only access them if you truly believe you can do it?”

Daily conditioning over the years of our life impacts us. We have a vision of who and what we are. It can very hard to overcome. A man making $40K a year dreams of making $50K, but having never made that much money he can’t truly see himself making that much. So he doesn’t. Sure, it’s more complicated than that, but if he can’t see it or believe it, then the details don’t much matter. Replace those numbers with much bigger numbers and you’ve got the same phenomenon happening. People making $150K a year may struggle to think they could ever earn $200K.

Self-Limiting Beliefs

They’re real. And they don’t exist when people perform at the highest levels. It’d take a lot more than a 10 minute (give or take) daily podcast to delve into the nuances of all that, but for our purposes today…I want to encourage you to give yourself permission to think bigger! Maybe way bigger!

Take a look around. Are there things or people or circumstances in your life that you once dreamed about? Look closely and carefully. You’ll likely find more than a few.

Now go back in your mind and try to remember how you felt when you really wanted those things but didn’t have them. Put yourself right back there. Where were you? What were you doing? How was your life?

If you were able to go from where you once were to where you now are…then what makes you think this is the highest pinnacle of your business achievement?

Start thinking about the next level, or maybe the highest level. What is that? What does that look like?

Why couldn’t you excel at that level? Don’t say because you don’t feel like you’re excelling at this current level. That’s an excuse that may be invalid.

Being world-class where you’re at may not be the path to being world-class at the next, or at the highest level. Sometimes being good enough is the path to the next level. Don’t get stuck in your head thinking wrongly about all this. Business is a game for players, not spectators or dreamers only. It’s a game for people committed to playing as hard as they can. For people who want to play it at the highest levels they want. It’s not up to me, or anybody else to determine the level for you. You decide for yourself.

Some people want to build sustainable, profitable businesses that aren’t complex or very large. They just want large enough. That’s fine. It doesn’t mean you can’t grow and improve. It just means you want what you want and that’s as it should be. Don’t let people talk you out of it.

Some want to build the biggest business possible. They want bigger and bigger and still bigger. That’s cool, too.

Just make sure you want what you want for reasons other than the negative self-limiting beliefs that you can’t go bigger. Don’t buy into the notion that the rockstars are just that much better than you. You don’t know that. You may believe it, but that’s up to you to bash that wall and break it into pieces. Jeff Bezos didn’t start out knowing how to run, operate or lead a multi-billion dollar empire. Neither did any other super-duper entrepreneur. They figured it out along the way. Largely fueled to success because the success happened first in their head. They believed excelling at the next level as possible. They lived accordingly.

Don’t rob yourself of experiencing the next level before you even give yourself the opportunity to find out. Think it. Believe it. Act on it. Realize it.

Be well. Do good. Grow great!

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Grow Great a public sector leadership podcastAbout the hosts: Randy Cantrell brings over 4 decades of experience as a business leader and organization builder. Lisa Norris brings almost 3 decades of experience in HR and all things "people." Their shared passion for leadership and developing high-performing cultures provoked them to focus the Grow Great podcast on city government leadership.

The work is about achieving unprecedented success through accelerated learning in helping leaders and executives "figure it out." 

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