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To become truly excellent at something – anything at all – requires effort and commitment.
It all comes down to two essential factors: desire and discipline.For me, as a performer and speaker, I use the skill of juggling to discuss and illustrate how we can manage our focus under pressure, staying proactive while handling a multitude of objectives in life. How do I deliver my best on-stage performances, often in front of thousands of people? I work at it, every single day.
One of the things I do on a daily basis is one thousand catches. That’s right. I count them, and I continue until I complete the challenge, without dropping. Every day. Sometimes it is late at night in a hotel room, after a long day of travel. But, still, it gets done.
And this is just the bare minimum. Many days I practice much longer. So do the math! That’s easily ten thousand catches per week. More than a half million per year. That kind of repetition and time develops both confidence and capability. So I take the stage with the knowledge that I’m prepared. I’ve earned the right to be there.
How about you? What are your one thousand catches? What skills and habits are essential to your success, and what daily disciplines are in place and non-negotiable to ensure you are making progress?
How do you ensure you are at your best when it matters the most? Well, you have to pay the price. Put in the time. Become the master of your skills.
Will you be prepared for the opportunities and tests in your future – both the ones you expect and the ones that will catch you completely by surprise and increase the likelihood of a positive result IF you will adopt specific daily disciplines.
One thousand catches doesn’t take all that long – about four minutes, if I don’t drop. But, of course, that’s not all I do. I have other physical disciplines in place, involving stretching and exercise. Then there are disciplines and practices relating to my work, family, and hobbies. It’s challenging to do it all every day, and not always possible. The key is to determine which of your disciplines are in place and non-negotiable. Then, have a plan in place to keep track and hold yourself accountable. You can’t do it all every day and have a “perfectly balanced” life. But you can be Off Balance On Purpose, biased toward what matters most!
So what are your one thousand catches? Your non-negotiables – the things you will do every day, no matter what?
As you consider that question, keep in mind the five spheres of your life pattern, as discussed in my book, Off Balance On Purpose. And remember, the key is to identify important things you can do that don’t take all that long, but have enormous impact over the course of time.
Your Work Sphere – What are you reading, writing, and doing to improve your skills? Identify the essential tasks that will contribute the most to your long term success, then do them every day!
Your Relationships Sphere – What do you say to and do for the ones you love? Tell ’em you love ’em. Communicate. Share a couple minutes of focused conversation.
Your Health – What are you doing to exercise and eat well? Do you adequately rest and relax? Each of these elements contribute to a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.
Your Spiritual Growth – Prayer, meditation, spiritual readings and practices all fall into this essential category.
Your Personal Interests – What hobbies, interests, or areas of study are you pursuing? Maybe this is more of a weekly discipline than a daily commitment. That’s up to you. But if it’s important, you need to figure out a way to make it happen. Not once, but often.
As my friend, Dr. Nido Qubein, says, “There are two types of pain: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Pick one.”
Pay the price. Cultivate the habit of discipline, and I promise you will soon feel a sense of pride and satisfaction from your efforts. Neglect you essential skills, relationships, and practices, however, and you will pay a different price in the future. And it may be unaffordable.
It is truly up to you.