It takes some talent. lot of hard work, determination and consistency to become a top performer … in just about anything. The best of the best all have a significant amount of natural talent … but without the effort and the mental fortitude they just don’t ever reach their potential.
It also takes that same type of commitment to STAY at the top … which in many ways can be a tougher mental challenge. To maintain the willingness to work hard, even when you know you are the best, and typically a consistent effort over many years.
Top athletes in any sport face this challenge in particular … and history will point to the many cases where those elite athletes lost their status. Some began to believe their own hype and did not work hard enough to maintain their status, others enjoyed the adulation of their fans a little too much perhaps focusing on their own status rather than working at it. Some just could not maintain that level of intensity needed on a consistent basis, year in and year out.
These traps are not just there for elite athletes, they affect all of us in our careers and in our home life … and yes it IS difficult to maintain a consistent effort throughout long periods of our life. At work if we are not willing to keep learning and work at “our game” then we quickly get passed. It might mean we lose out on a promotion, become the “dispensable employee” or it just might mean work life becomes very dull. At home it might mean we miss out on a great relationship, never achieve our potential as an amateur sportsperson or that home life becomes boring.
We “get into a rut”, we take things for granted, we get bored and we lose just a little every day … until something gives.
Do you take your relationships for granted … or do you work at maintaining them, in the same way you would have needed to develop them?
If you are a golfer do you still “work” at getting better … or you just play your game?
Do you WORK at your job, in order be the best you can … or do you go through the motions?
If you own a business are you willing to put in the long hours and sacrifices, the same way you needed to while building it?
There are lots of things you can do to “keep your edge” … but generally they mean making a conscious effort to “work at it”.
1. You can continually refresh your knowledge … whether it is taking courses to stay ahead in your job, or taking up new hobbies to keep your love of life alive.
2. You can create action plans that will increase your network … focusing on interesting and positive people.
3. You can make a conscious effort to develop goals and plans on a regular basis.
4. You can get coaches and mentors to help push you, at work AND at home.
5. You can make a conscious effort to communicate with those around you … openly and honestly, to understand what is working, what is not and where things could be better.
The best of the best sometimes lose their way and end up wondering where it all went wrong. The reality is that it starts small and snowballs from there.
Keep you edge … and keep life interesting!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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