August 21, 2019
The heat remains intense outside but that won’t diminish the enthusiasm building up in many of us as we count down the final week before kicking off football season.
And it certainly doesn’t get much better than the Southeastern Conference when it comes to college ball. I can already hear the chant roaring from the stadiums — SEC, SEC, SEC.
The teams, players, competition and school spirit all make game day and the build up to it lots of fun.
And then there’s another level of observation, analysis and discussion related to the coaches.
I love learning from the most accomplished coaches both on and off the field. Many of the disciplines they teach, concepts they promote and nonnegotiables they require can be applied to other groups and organizations off the field.
One phrase I anticipate hearing from coaches week after week in the post-game interviews is “mental errors.”
Players are undoubtedly going to make mistakes. That’s a given. The goal is not to play a game without any mistakes; the goal is to minimize how many and what kinds of mistakes as well as the negative impact those mistakes make.
What if we did the same in our daily responsibilities? That would mean sharpening ourselves to prevent mental errors which would in turn cut down on mistakes.
Part of sharpening ourselves requires having a clear understanding of our role and being properly trained, resourced and empowered to pull it off.
Proper rest, mental clarity, emotional stability and physical endurance also provide a boost to minimizing mental errors. Most of us are not at 100% in these areas so the slightest improvement in even one of them will take our performance to an entirely new level.
Part of finding your sweet spot in performing with excellence is first to commit to strive for it.
Some days we do have to settle for “good enough” but those days should be the exception, not the rule — never wanting to settle for less than our best.
According to University of Alabama Coach Nick Saban, “The ‘good is enough’ attitude is not what we’re looking for; we have got to use every opportunity to improve individually so we can improve collectively”
“[C]ertain traits … seem to be in every champion: passion, commitment, confidence, pride in performance, high standards of excellence, relentlessness, perseverance and the ability to perform in adverse circumstances,” Saban writes in “How Good Do You Want to Be?: A Champion’s Tips on How to Lead and Succeed at Work and in Life.”
Auburn Coach Gus Malzhan says, “We have to give 110% in every aspect of everything we do all the time. That’s how you do it. That’s how you win.”
And while not an SEC coach, his Alabama roots run deep — Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney:
“Focus on the process … do the little things right on a daily basis. … Focus on the little things.”