Fall is one of my favorite times of the year because my favorite sport is back in action: football. But this isn’t my favorite time of the year just because of all the incredible college and NFL games that will have millions of people glued to their TV sets, but because of all the potential football upsets.
We see a lot of these at the college level. At some point during the college football season, a highly ranked team will go down at the hands of an underdog team. That win will be the talk of the whole country, and everyone will be in shock as the highlights are replayed over and over on ESPN and other networks for the subsequent week.
These upsets during football season should remind us of the simple truth that applies to building businesses, organizations and whole cultures and ultimately becoming more as people: the importance of simply showing up every single day.
The reason why upsets happen in sports as well as business, the reason people fail to become their best version of themselves, is because people forget to "show up" every day. You will always have the number-one or the second-ranked team in the country being beaten by a smaller-division team because that top team forgot to show up that particular day.
Its members will have let their record, their past achievements and the praise heaped on them by the media get in the way of their executing and treating that specific game as if they were 0-0.
The same thing needs to happen when we build businesses, embark on massive goals or improve an area in our personal lives. Showing up every day and treating each new day, project and task as if your life depended on it is a surefire way to make sure you get better at what you do and move in the right direction to where you want and need to be.
Here are two ways to help you make sure you show up every single day.
1. Create a contract with yourself.
This piece of advice really works. I can attest that it has made a great difference in my own life by motivating me to show up and improve upon what I did the day before.
Have some fun with this: Craft a couple of paragraphs stating that you will show up and give everything you have. How you word it is up to you, but just the act alone of crafting a contract with yourself will have an incredible psychological effect. After you craft this contract, you should laminate it and put it somewhere where you'll see it multiple times a day.
The real work will come at the end of each day, when you have to be 100 percent honest with yourself by looking at your contract to see if you've lived up to the words that you wrote down.
I have talked and written about this advice, but a book that I highly recommend for greater detail about creating a contract with yourself is the The One Day Contract: How to Add Value to Every Minute of Your Life, by Rick Pitino, head basketball coach at the University of Louisville (and cowriter Eric Crawford). It's a phenomenal book that chronicles how Pitino started using a one-day contract for himself and his team before they won their national championship.
2. Pick one key area that you are going to get better at every single day.
When I was a former linebacker, in both college and the NFL, we would always pick one key area to focus on for that specific day. After a couple of months, I noticed what a great impact this was making on me in becoming a better player overall. I then adopted this same practice into my personal life. Every day, I would focus on one key area and put on my list whatever was that day's focal point.
The results were phenomenal. So much so that I still maintain this habit even now that I am away from football. For example, if you’re in sales, maybe you are working on getting better with cold calls one day, and then the next day you are working on improving your communication or prospecting skills. Whatever you do for work, find one key area to get better at every day.
It’s amazing what can happen a year from now if you pick one thing to work on and get better at each and every day. Over time, you will notice a drastic difference, not only in the results you begin to see, but how you approach each new day.
The reason why this practice works is because it’s not overwhelming yourself with 1,000 different areas you need to work on, combined with your already hectic schedule.
Showing up every single day of your life is critical when it comes to the success of your business, organization and individual success. Just when you think you've made it or don’t have to work as hard, someone, somewhere is already gaining an advantage over you and working to surpass you.
Champions show up every day, whether that occurs on the field, on the court or in the boardroom. Showing up may help you be one of them.