The first person you lead is y
Wed, 01 August 2012 10:02:47
By: John C Maxwell
How Can I
The first person you lead is you.
It’s a tough road to the top Not many people ever reach the place where
they are considered one of the best at their work And even fewer are
believed to be the best – ever Yet that’s what Jerry Rice has achieved
He is called the best person ever to play wide receiver in football And
he has got the records to prove it.
People who know him well say he is a natural Physically his God-given
gifts are incredible, yet those alone have not made him great The real
key to his success has been his self-discipline He works and prepares –
day in and day out – unlike anyone else in professional football
During practice in high school, Rice’s coach, Charles Davis, made his
players sprint 20 times up and down a 40-yard hill On a particularly hot
and muggy Mississippi day, Rice was ready to give up after eleven trips
As he sneaked toward the locker room, he realised what he was doing
‘Don’t quit,’ he told himself ‘Because once you get into that mode of quitting,
then you feel like it’s okay ’ He went back and finished his sprints,
and he has never been a quitter since.
As a professional player, he has become famous for his ability to sprint
up another hill – a rugged 2 5-mile park trail in San Carlos, California
– that Rice makes a regular part of his workout schedule Other top players
try to keep up with him on it, but they fall behind, astounded by his
stamina But that’s only a part of Rice’s regular routine Even in the offseason,
while other players are fishing or lying around enjoying downtime,
Rice is working, his normal exercise routine lasting from 7:00 a.M.to noon. Someone once joked, ‘He is so well-conditioned that he makes
Jamie Lee Curtis look like James Earl Jones.’
‘What a lot of guys don’t understand about Jerry is that with him, football’s
a twelve-month thing,’ says NFL cornerback Kevin Smith. ‘He’s a
natural, but he still works. That’s what separates the good from the great.’
No matter how gifted a leader is, his gifts will never reach their
maximum potential without the application of self-discipline.
In 1997, Rice climbed another hill in his career: he made a comeback from
a devastating injury. Prior to that, he had never missed a game in 19 seasons
of football, a testament to his disciplined work ethic and absolute
tenacity. When he blew out his knee on August 31, 1997, people thought
he was finished for the season. After all, only one player had ever had a
similar injury and come back in the same season – Rod Woodson. He
had rehabilitated his knee in four and a half months. Rice did it in three
and a half – through sheer grit, determination, and incredible self-discipline.
People had never seen anything like it before, and they might not
again. And Rice continues to build his records and his reputation while
helping his team win.
A Disciplined Direction
Jerry Rice is a perfect example of the power of self-discipline. No one
achieves and sustains success without it. And no matter how gifted a leader
is, his gifts will never reach their maximum potential without the application
of self-discipline. It positions a leader to go to the highest level
and is a key to leadership that lasts.
If you want to become a leader for whom self-discipline is an asset,
follow these action points:
1. Challenge Your Excuses
To develop a lifestyle of discipline, one of your first tasks must be to challenge
and eliminate any tendency to make excuses. As French classical writer
François La Rochefoucauld said, ‘Almost all our faults are more pardonable
than the methods we think up to hide them.’ If you have severalreasons why you can’t be self-disciplined, realise that they are really just
a bunch of excuses – all of which need to be challenged if you want to go
to the next level as a leader.
2. Remove Rewards Until the Job Is Done
Author Mike Delaney wisely remarked, ‘Any business or industry that pays
equal rewards to its goof-offs and its eager-beavers sooner or later will find
itself with more goof-offs than eager-beavers.’ If you lack self-discipline,
you may be in the habit of having dessert before eating your vegetables.
A story illustrates the power of withholding rewards. An older couple
had been at a campground for a couple of days when a family arrived
at the site next to them. As soon as their sport-utility vehicle came to a
stop, the couple and their three kids piled out. One child hurriedly unloaded
ice chests, backpacks, and other items while the other two quickly
put up tents. The site was ready in 15 minutes.
The older couple was amazed. ‘You folks sure do work great together,’
the elderly gentleman told the dad admiringly.
‘You just need a system,’ replied the dad. ‘Nobody goes to the bathroom
until camp’s set up.’
3. Stay Focused on Results
Anytime you concentrate on the difficulty of the work instead of its results
or rewards, you’re likely to become discouraged. Dwell on it too long,
and you’ll develop self-pity instead of self-discipline. The next time you’re
facing a must-do task and you’re thinking of doing what’s convenient instead
of paying the price, change your focus. Count the benefits of doing
what’s right, and then dive in.
If you know you have talent, and you’ve seen a lot of motion
but little concrete results – you may lack self-discipline.
Author H Jackson Brown Jr quipped, ‘Talent without discipline is like
an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never
know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.’ If you knowyou have talent, and you’ve seen a lot of motion – but little concrete results
– you may lack self-discipline.
Look at last week’s schedule. How much of your time did you devote
to regular, disciplined activities? Did you do anything to grow and improve
yourself professionally? Did you engage in activities promoting good
health? Did you dedicate part of your income to savings or investments?
If you’ve been putting off those things, telling yourself that you’ll do them
later, you may need to work on your self-discipline.
This is an extract from The 8 Pillars of Excellence by John C. Maxwell. To buy the book now, click here