Greatness is not from being given more talent. Excellent is not the result of one big lucky break. Fame comes from consistent ever over at least a ten year period. That reason so few become great is not many can make a regular effort over an extended period because it gets boring. The best way to be great is to make sure that you always do extra. Doing extra means merely consistently doing the small things that everyone is just not willing to do.
Do Extra: Be Early
When you are focused on being great, it means that you plan on being the first one to practice every day. I remember in college and see kids roll out of bread and run straight to practice getting there a few minutes late. When I would look at these actions, I knew that these guys would never beat me.
I did extra, and I made sure I was at practice at least 30 minutes before it started. That 30 minutes allowed me time to get my mind right and body prepared for excellent training. Whereas showing up later or even right on time means coming to practice frazelled. You’re thinking about what you were doing before, not getting in trouble with the coach and how your body is hurting from the run over. That is no way to be great.
To do extra and be early it means you have a plan and you are committed to doing this. The way most people live their lives is just planning to get to everything as late as possible. When people think of waking up, they think of the latest they can wake up and still get to whatever they do on time.
The people who do extra think regarding what time they need to be placed to produce the best result.
Do Extra: Stay Late
First in the building and the last out of the building are traits you commonly hear attached to successful people in general. Now if you want to be great it’s going to mean having the self-awareness to know that when team practice is done, you still need some work.
Doing extra means realizing that a coach is going to do what is best for the team. What is best for the team may mean starting someone else over you. You have to do what is best for you, and that means getting even better, so you become the best option for the team.
Doing extra is Kobe Bryant taking shots for four hours before practice even starts. Doing additional means that you will not be overworked not matter their size, talent, how much they talk or whatever else distracts you from what matters. As an athlete, you can’t control a lot, but you can manage the time you put in.
Do Extra: Build Others Up
Being great requires recognizing that you need a team. MJ would not have been MJ without Scottie Pippen and his support crew. Lebron left Cleveland to head for Miami because he realized that you need a good team. Not one star to win.
Building your teammates to do extra will pay huge dividends in the end. You want your team to be as good as possible. By building them up not only do you work on your leadership skills but you make a statement that the team is not just all about you.
If you work extra hard, that is enough to make you useful, but your team could still believe that you re just working for you. When you show you care about your team and that you are willing to invest in them, they buy into things more.
Even when you have done excellent work here you know because it switches from a leader leading followers, to a leader leading leaders. When a leader does a fantastic job, they create more leaders that can go on to lead others and keep the legacy of the team going forward.
Do Extra: Put More Energy Into Every Rep
My first year of college our coach had our team doing med ball throws. I remember looking at some people on the team throwing the ball, and they were just going through the motions. The ball was coming out of their hands, but it was with no zest. Before I could even say, anything coach came over screaming at the team about it. I was accurate in my assumption.
We all need this reminder sometimes, but you have to get the most out of every rep. There are reps that people give with all they have, and there are others where people half-ass the rep because they are not intentional in their practice.
The question you must always ask yourself if you want to do extra is “Am I conquering the rep or am I just trying to get through?” If you are just trying to get through then, you need to rethink your strategy. The people who do extra get a bit more out of every practice than most.
Think of it as the last little bit in your toothpaste. Some people just throw away and start a new one. Other people squeeze that toothpaste in every possible way because they want to get the most out of it.
Do Extra: Recovery Harder
Up until this point you have engaged in activities that drain you both mentally and physically. Great athletes know that recovery is a huge part of this process because most won’t take it seriously. There are a lot of people willing to work hard, but there are few willing to do extra and recover even harder.
When you recover hard, it means that you are willing to invest both time and money into your body. It says you take every little thing that bothers your body seriously. Most injuries start off as small nags that we think are no big deal but then they grow and turn into something much worse because they are not dealing with.
The greats do extra and its why they don’t have their careers hampered by injuries. When you have injury questions, you need to ask them. You need to make the ice bath your best friend. Taking care of your body becomes a priority in your life. That means day in and day out you get the little things done to stay healthy and improve your health.
Look at any great team or any great individuals, and you will notice that these points resonate with them. The only way to get ahead in life is by doing extra. You have to put in more work and effort than others are willing to. A lot of people never think of things this way but here is a truth. If you want to be above average, you have to do things that the average person will not do.