I like football… growing up in Green Bay kinda does that to you.
But I don’t like it the way some people like it. By that, I mean that I don’t live or die with it; it never makes or breaks my day. I don’t paint my bare chest green and gold and show it off outside when the temps are below zero… I never feel hung-over on Monday.
But there is much to be learned from sports. Strategy. Execution. And Leadership… some of the best leaders in the world have dedicated their lives to coaching our young men and women to win three distinct games:
1) On the field or court against the competition
2) In their own mind against selfishness, doubt, and fear
3) Away from the spotlights, in their real life relationships with others.
I love that aspect of the game. I love the lessons. Life lessons.
For an example, let me turn to another sport: Major League Baseball. In 2008, there were only three players in all of MLB with a batting average above .330, and their average salary was $16.3M:
It falls off quickly after that; thirty-one players players between .300 and .329; sixty-nine between
.270 and .299 and so on. Typical bell-curve stuff. And the average salary falls off quickly too.
In fact, remove the three mentioned above and a few other heavy-hitters and high-salaried pitchers like A-Rod and Johan Santana, and the average player’s salary is about a million bucks a year. Not bad, but I find it interesting.
An average player hits .280… a superstar hits .330; an average player makes $1M per year… a superstar more than sixteen times that!
And the difference?
For every twenty times at bat, the average player gets a base hit 5.6 times. Not a home run mind you; just first base. A superstar, on the other hand, gets a base hit 6.6 times. One extra hit, every twenty times at bat.
It would seem that in baseball, the difference between average and exceptional is very small. The same is true in business and life.
Maybe just slight changes to your office environment that encourages an ownership mentality and reasonable risk-taking by staff. Or an online forum for customers to praise or rant… that allows you to listen just a little closer. It could be that embracing a new idea or available technology would slash marketing expenditures and define your authority in an industry.
Those would be good things… they are easy things.
What if you could revolutionize your marriage simply by focusing kind words and deeds throughout the week? Or transform your child’s future by unconditional love and conversation? What if you could live an exta fifteen years by walking twenty minutes a day?
Well, you can.
The distance between average and excellence is not as great as it seems.
Small improvements, performed consistently over time, yield big results.