I recently spent some time with Jesse Itzler, best known for his book Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet. In his book, Itzler describes the self-imposed 31-day ordeal he undertook to shake things up in his life. He convinced a real U.S. Navy SEAL to control his every waking hour for a month and take his physical and mental conditioning to new places. Itzler felt that his life had become a bit too routine and this was his solution. The book is hilarious and insightful.
Jesse Itzler is an incredibly successful entrepreneur having built and sold one of his companies to Warren Buffet, then building and selling another one to Coca-Cola. He is also an avid follower of pro sports and one of the owners of the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA. At one point in our conversation, Itzler talked about something he has noticed about elite athletes once they “make it” into the big leagues. Some deliver on their potential and some don’t. Those who do deliver on their potential keep getting better and typically enjoy long, successful careers. Those who don’t deliver, usually last only two or three years, with some of them ending up broke and aimless. What separates these two groups? It isn’t talent, according to Itzler.
His observation is that many successful players set new goals once they make the big leagues. Those who don’t often fall flat. If you achieve your goal of making the NBA, but then don’t set the next performance goal for yourself – something to keep you growing – the ultimate result could be failure.
I think one of the most important keys to coaching others is to be on the lookout for a lack of goals, and then to use what we know about the person’s priorities, values, and strengths to help them create their own goals – targets that will motivate them to stretch and achieve.
Engaged, caring coaches like you help your team members set meaningful goals and then support their efforts to achieve them.