Are you setting world records every day? On a daily basis, how focused are you on being “the best you can be”? On differing levels we all strive to win, and with winning comes significant emotional gratification when it’s aligned with a strong purpose. It’s part of Maslow’s Hiearchy of Human Needs, “Self Actualization” is KING! It feels great and enables you to leap tall buildings in a single bounce, just like Superman.
I had a significant wake-up call this week whilst attending The European Growth Summit. Listening to all of the great speakers & their from the heart passionate sharing I was moved to face the painful reality that in my own game I hadn’t been giving it all that I could.
I recalled my friend Farhaan who used to kick my butt when we would go jogging. He always used a phrase that was often used back in high school on the football, or track field. As we’d approach the mile marker that we had set as an objective, out of breath and aching in every possible muscle & joint I would start to slow my pace just a few meters before the finish line. Farhaan on the other-hand would kick it up a notch and run 5 meters past our previously established goal. I remember hating him for that, but as I drank from the cold cup of humility I recognized he was right.
If you want to do anything to its highest level and reap the substantial rewards that come with it, 90 or 100% just aren’t enough! You’ve got to give it your all, dig down deep & find the extra 10, 20 or 30% more you’ve got in reserve. As human beings our limitations are often only perceived. Until we give-it-a-go & stretch ourselves beyond our perceived limitations we’ll never know what our true capabilities are.
A short comment of perceived limitations. When a baby elephant is born in a circus, their leg is tied to a stake in the ground with a strong chain. Over time, the elephant’s keeper gradually reduces the thickness of the chain until a fully grown elephant is “held” by a flimsy piece of rope. The elephant is tied to the stake because it believes it is. It his limiting beliefs which holds him a captive prisoner!
Ever see a Heisman Trophy winning running back break the goal line for a winning score? How does a 180-200 pound running back break through a tackle by a series of opponents who individually outweigh him by more than 50 to 60 pounds each? He’s diving or driving for 5 yards past the goal line, not the goal line itself. That’s how you increase your likelihood of breaking through a significant challenge, not by setting out to achieve a target, but actually driving through & past it!
This past Wednesday I had the honor of being invited to the HiT Barcelona World Innovation Summit to sit on an expert panel & coach the participants of a pitching contest. The actual agenda & what was expected of me came as a last minute surprise the day before when I noticed that I, along with my illustrious colleagues, had been allocated a 15 minute segment to share practical tips on the art of the elevator pitch.
Time was short & I thought to myself, “no worries.. I’ve done this plenty of times so I’ll just wing it“. Then a little voice whispered in my ear reminding me of the messages communicated during the European Growth Summit the day before. In response I put together 4 simple PowerPoint slides to facilitate my 15 minutes of fame.
On the way to the event the next day, as I approached the venue I realized I had forgotten my short presentation in a USB memory stick back at home. Again I thought to myself, “no worries.. I’ve done this plenty of times so I’ll just wing it“. That little voice popped into my head reminding me of the commitment I had made to myself the evening before to give it all I’ve got. I asked the taxi driver to turn-around because I had forgotten something!
An amazing thing happened when I got up to do my brief presentation a few hours later. The audience was captivated. The slides as a back drop made my communication more effective. Standing in front of 100+ entrepreneurs & members of the investment community I could feel a strong connection with my audience & a powerful force rushing through me as a consequence. Then something unexpected took this experience up another notch.
Lluis Font is a Barcelona based entrepreneur with significant international success that I highly regard & have admired since moving to Barcelona 4 years ago. Lluis intervened during a pause in my presentation to ask the audience to pay special attention to what I was doing, commenting that I was one of the best he’s ever seen at presenting whilst pointing out the delicate intricacies of my voice, posture presence & mannerisms. It was pinch-yourself moment, when you’ve just gotta make sure you’re not dreaming!
On the taxi ride home I was feeling like a world champion! I’ve had many great moments before but this one stood out for me. And as I reflected on the why, I realized that it wasn’t because of the notoriety! I was in seventh heaven because I had reached for 5 meters past my goal. And in doing so, I was rewarded for having shown respect to my audience, colleagues & sponsors in holding myself to account for the best possible performance I could give.
What’s your goal for today? What do you think 5 meters past that goal line could look, taste & feel like?
Thanks for reading!
The Strategy Guy; Bringing out the Best in People & Organizations through Process & Human Capitol Transformation