John Wooden shared, “When the opportunity comes it’s too late to prepare.” Preparation is more than just a discipline. Preparation is an attitude. Preparation will make the difference between winning and losing. Success and failure. Connecting and feeling lost.
Preparation can happen in many ways. It could be about thinking ahead of a potential problem to making sure your dinner guests do not have any food allergies or special diets.
Preparation could be practicing your elevator speech to new families, teachers or strategic partners not until you get it right, but until you never get it wrong.
Preparation could be when you get those five key minutes with your boss to pitch an idea you have all of her potential questions (i.e. budget impact, key resources, first steps) already mapped out in an easy to read one page report.
Preparation is all about getting better results. Better results in this order:
Anyone Can Be An Important Person To You. Typically we give our best first to those we love and respect. My past has taught me a key secret to success in life: See everyone as though they have a “10” stamped on their head. Everyone is important. Everyone has value. That change in attitude has changed my life. When I prepare training sessions for school leaders I want to spend sometime with the leader asking them about their people. How do they learn best? What is the message they need to hear? What has worked well in the past? Is there anyone right now going through some tough times? Who would benefit from being highlighted? The people in the room are who matter, I don’t.
Anything We Do Can Be Made Important. Most moments in life become special only if we treat them that way. The average day is simply average because we don’t make them something more. We recently hosted a training for teachers in a downtown Raleigh hotel. I wanted them to have the best experience so we paid for them to open up the top floor for lunch that overlooked the entire city and most of Wake County. I wanted every teacher in the room to have the best experience because what they do is so important to our community. It was worth every penny.
You Can Become Important to Anyone. A common relationship transforms when you give it uncommon effort. Just this past Friday I stopped at Lowe’s Foods for their monthly “Tryday” event. My family could not make. One of the managers, Victoria, saw me by myself and asked where the kids were. When she heard that they were not able to come she walked me around to their latest items and mentioned my kids by names and showed what they would love. I went home with a weekend full of “specialty items” picked out specifically for each member of the family. I barely know Victoria, but in the one hour we spend in her store every month, she really knows us. I don’t shop anywhere else because of her.
Make the Most of Your Gifts and Opportunities: Legendary basketball coach John Wooden shared, “Make every day your masterpiece.” If we all gave our best all the time, we can grow our lives into something special. We don’t have to be rich to give. We don’t have to be physically present to impact someone’s life for the better. It doesn’t take a lot to help others, but it does effort and intentionality.
To apply John Maxwell’s lesson, Offer Your Very Best, into your life, follow these simple steps:
Forget about: Doing the minimum required to get by, and focus instead on your maximum effort.
Ask: What can I do for someone who could never repay me?
Do it: Voluntarily give beyond what is required.
Remember: Everybody appreciates a person who gives their very best.
Based on this blog, what will you apply? What will you change? What will you teach?
This blog was based on the leadership principles taught in John C. Maxwell's 25 Ways to Win With People. The blog was written by Dr. Tom Miller, owner of Leaders Building Leaders and Executive Director with the John Maxwell Team. If you received value from this blog and would like more strategies on tips on how to improve your leadership join our daily email by clicking here.
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