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  • Writer's pictureBurk Moreland

3 Myths about Effort

We’re not asking you to be perfect on every play.  What we’re asking of you and what you should be asking of each other is to give a perfect effort from snap to whistle. ~Coach Ladouceur

This quote from “When the Game Stood Tall” is one of the best quotes I have ever heard.  If you haven’t seen the movie, it is chock full of leadership lessons, and this quote really stands out to me.  This is the message I deliver to my team.  This is the standard I hold myself to.  Effort is the basis for success.  In order to understand what effort is, let’s look at a few things that it’s not.

Here are a few myths about effort

You have to be lucky to be successful.

John Maxwell says that ‘Luck is just the intersection of preparedness and opportunity.  While I firmly believe there is an element of timing which could be described as luck, I also agree with John.  People constantly “pass” on opportunities that are put in front of them due to a lack of preparedness.  Are your eyes open and more importantly your mind to what is in front of you?  People that are “lucky” or in the “right place at the right time” also had to be in a place where they could take advantage of the chance they were given.

Effort is always the answer.

Pushing yourself to move faster in the wrong direction only hastens your arrival at the wrong place.  Busy is not necessarily successful.  I constantly see people who are working very “hard”, but aren’t making any progress. You can’t paddle up the waterfall, sometimes you have to get out and carry the boat.  Stop, lift your head up, and check that you are on the right track for your goal.  Set up a structure for consistent check-ins with your team to look at where you’re at.  Is everyone still working toward the correct goal?

You must give 110% to win!

I hate this phrase just due to the illogical nature of it.  By definition, you can’t give any more than you have, which again, by definition is only 100%.  Funny enough, most of the people that say they give 110% are way below the 100%.  Watch out for these people, they are compensating with words for their lack of effort many times.  And, giving 100% all the time is a recipe for burnout in a hurry.  Don’t be a firework that shoots into the night sky, explodes into a beautiful display and then is out of fuel.  If you are a valuable team member, I want you for the long haul.  That means you need to recharge every once in awhile.  That means you can’t give me 100% towards work all the time.  Take vacations and actually unplug.  Invest your time with your family instead of barely being present as you look at your smartphone throughout dinner.  You will be a better teammate long term if you do this.

How much effort you put in is one of the few things that is completely in your control. I understand you can’t control your customers, the market, the economy, suppliers, other team members, etc.  However, you can control how hard you try. So how is your team’s effort level?

Until next time, go make something happen…

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