This Is How You Get Ahead In Life (And Leave The Less Motivated In The Dust)

Robert Servais
Robert Servais

I’m willing to bet there are things that you do every day that you aren’t great at. Me too. Maybe we can form and join the club, together. We’ll have billions of our fellow world citizens as company. People have their theories on life, its meaning and why we’re here. We can all debate those things, figure out what’s right and try to determine what fits for us. One thing I know is that life is always trying to teach us a lesson.

I’ve worked as a project manager, business consultant, basketball coach, sales representative, financial analyst, researcher and facilities manager. Did I forget busboy, cabana boy and supermarket cashier?! In each job, I’ve gathered the best practices of the craft, looked to gain my footing and tried to figure out how much I love what I do. I’ve had ebbs and flows of working hard, not exactly working hard at all, loving what I do, and ultimately changing professions. Believe me, cabana boy is not quite as glamorous as it sounds.

A valuable takeaway from all of this is: if you’re going to do spend your time doing something, do it well and do it right. The biggest mistake you can make (particularly early on) in your career is attempting to “just get by.”

Passion and Enthusiasm

“When someone thoroughly exhausts an experience they can’t help but revere it. I revere football. I love the game. So you don’t have to wonder if I’ll miss it. Absolutely. Absolutely I will.” – Peyton Manning

While it may work in the short-term, just trying to “get by” will slowly eat away at you from the inside. It will harm your future prospects for success. When you’re only giving the minimal level of effort, you’re not giving your best shot, and you’re living without passion.

Passion — an enthusiasm and vitality for a given pursuit — is essential for you to perform at your best.

If you don’t believe that, stop and think about people who you admire who have achieved success in a particular field. From what you know about those individuals, does it stand out that they are enthusiastic about their craft? I think you’ll find the answer to that question is a resounding, “Yes!”

NFL legend Peyton Manning announced his retirement last month after a 18-year career in the NFL. The most poignant words I gleaned from his speech were, “I revere football.” These words were the distillation of nearly two professional decades of grinding it out on the gridiron; not to mention, nearly a lifetime of playing, watching, talking and learning the game. Peyton Manning became one of the greatest players in league history. Reading between the lines, I realized that he was able to break tons of records and win two Super Bowls because he loved everything about the game of football.

Every Detail Matters. Do it Right

Half-hearted efforts simply do not cut it in the modern world. This is nothing new — they never have. There’s far too much competition and too many other people willing to take the chair that you may be fortunate enough to be sitting in now. You may not love what you’re doing right now, but I can promise you someone else out there may just like it more than you. That person may be willing to fight for that same opportunity with greater energy and vigor. They’re willing to do the job right the first time, and leave no doubts, questions or thoughts of alternatives.

Legendary, Hall of Fame Men’s Basketball Coach John Wooden was the “Wizard of Westwood,” and a brilliant philosopher in his own right. Coach Wooden once said, “If you don’t have the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?” Coach Wooden was a stickler for focusing on details. The man went to painstaking lengths to get his players to hone in on the, “little things” that would help them win games and grow as men.

He’s famously known for teaching his players, at the start of each new season, how to properly tie the shoelaces on their basketball sneakers. Of course, there was a lesson in all of this:

Every detail matters.

Everything we do, from the “little things” all the way up to what we perceive to be the big things, matters. Do it well, do it right the first time and that consistency and routine will set the tone for how we manage our approach to everything else.

We all operate with a limited amount of time. As we get older, more responsibilities come on our plate and expectations only increase. We have a finite amount of time to maximize our potential in each situation. Get it right the first time by concentrating with maximum focus, energy and effort on all that you do. You’ll find yourself living a successful life without regret. TC mark

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