I was watching an NBA basketball game the other day and noticed one particular player. This player was really good at a few things, and truly terrible at a couple others. He hadn’t improved his shooting or ball handling ability in 4 years. I actually went and looked up his shooting stats and confirmed this.
I’ve known many basketball players who fit a similar mold. Really good at some skill or skills, and severely deficient in other would-be-useful areas. Yet, they never improve in the skills that are lacking. I’ve identified reasons for this.
Complacency. Being so good at one thing provides enough satisfaction and maybe even admiration (think: a player who can jump really high and do great dunks, but can’t shoot or dribble) that cognitive dissonance ensues.
The player actively ignores his shortcomings, while giving full attention to strengths. This is a good way to become and stay great at one thing. It is also a great way to be one-dimensional and limit your possibilities.
In certain fields this is a good strategy; in basketball, a game where any player can perform any function, it is not. In baseball, for example, each player has specific and limited function based on position. A pitcher doesn’t need to practice catching fly balls. An outfielder doesn’t work on throwing curve balls. Basketball also has positions, but your position doesn’t limit your duties or capabilities in any way. Any player on the floor in basketball can do anything.
No one around the player telling or coercing him to work on his game. A professional athlete has only one job: play your sport as well as you possibly can. NBA athletes make enough money that cost is never an excuse for not getting help. No NBA player can claim he doesn’t have, say, $10,000 to invest in offseason training from a professional.
Friends, family and hangers-on are drawn to this player, and want to be in his company. This usually means staying in the athlete’s good graces, and not intentionally doing or saying anything that would upset him.
Telling a pro basketball player, “hey, you’ve been in the league four years and still can’t shoot or dribble!” may upset him and cost you your spot in the circle.
Which is why the athlete needs to either a) be self-motivated enough to know what he’s weak at, and address it, or b) surround himself with at least one no-b***s*** person amongst friends who will tell him what he needs to hear, not just what he wants to hear, or c) hire someone who will gladly fill this role, for a fee.
You don’t need to be 6’5″, able to dunk, or have $10,000 to spare to use what I’m about to tell you.
You need to have people around you who, by either mere presence or direct communication, force you to step it up. [shareable cite=”@DreAllDay “]You need to have people around you who, by either mere presence or direct communication, force you to step it up.[/shareable]
Re-read that sentence. Notice I didn’t say people who hope you step it up, or people who would be happy if you stepped it up, or people who would tell you to step it up if you asked.
You need people who will tell you, unsolicited, that you have holes in your game that need to be filled.
Here are some questions to help you identify these people.
1) Who are the people in your circle who will call you on your bulls***? Some of us are lucky enough to have friends who fill this role; most of us aren’t. This is where coaches, mentors and mastermind groups come in. The differences between each should be noted. [shareable cite=”@DreAllDay “]Who are the people in your circle who will call you on your bulls***?[/shareable]
Coaches are hired, and thus guaranteed to be there to do just this – not allow you to half-step on things. That’s what you’re paying for, and should expect at all times.
Mentors are more for a season, and also people who volunteer their time and knowledge to you. I see a mentor as playing a more compassionate, nurturing role than a coach, who has full license to put a foot in your butt.
Mastermind groups require organization, the right fit (you want all members to be in harmony with all other members, which is not so easy to achieve), and require you to pull your weight by bringing something to the table. And, a mastermind group can outgrow and drop those who don’t improve (fast) enough over time. To me, a useful, productive mastermind group is only for people who have been or are being coached enough to get and keep themselves on top of things. Masterminds and coaches are not interchangeable. Either way, you need people who won’t tolerate slacking.
2) Who, by their mere presence, inspires you to step it up? It’s important to know, you don’t have to know this person directly. She could be the author of a great book or host of a podcast you love. Whoever it is, just hearing or reading their words gets you going and moving.
3) Who are you uncomfortable showing up unprepared with or not having any improvement to show since last time? Who do you know who’s always on-point, improving, and advancing? Who would disassociate from you if you didn’t pick up the same mentality? Who fully embodies the “Circle of Five” mentality? Who would stop taking your calls and texts if you didn’t show progress? You need to get around that person, at whatever cost. Your success depends on it.
So, who do you know who checks any of the above? Anyone? How many of your closest associates qualifies? Do YOU fit any of these descriptions?
There’s work to do.
Start your work with 30 Days To Discipline.