“Winning isn’t everything. The will to prepare to win is.” —Jerry Kramer, football player, author, and commentator

Our society is enamored with extraordinary occurrences. Rarely do we recognize that, of the people who become overnight stars, most have already put in years of work and preparation behind the scenes. Coaches and players are roundly praised for their brilliance in the moment, however, the decision for a successful play was likely made after hours of analysis and thoughtful discussion, perhaps at 10:00 PM on a Tuesday night.

A successful business might seem to have just popped up on the scene, but that perspective fails to recognize the years of toil that go into a small and growing enterprise.

Time and Effort Are Inescapable

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing.” —Vince Lombardi, football coach and executive

What appears to be momentary success is nearly always the result of years of training, training that is focused, with clear values and relentless commitment. There are very few quick-and-easy strategies that result in the type of success that is admired and respected.

At the heart of an enterprise that is outwardly admired for its achievements, are hours, days, weeks, months, and years of preparation carefully focused on the goal.

You Can’t Afford to Wait

“Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.” —Zig Ziglar, author, salesman, and motivational speaker

We don’t tend to celebrate or advertise our missed opportunities. However, there are many cases where business ventures, public policies, and efforts made by teams have gone awry because, when the moment of action arrived, it hadn’t been nurtured through preparation. Decisions were demanded, but the leaders were unable to act, because they needed more time to examine the opportunity.

Chances were lost because of an inability to perform in the moment.

“Everyone is looking for instant success, but it doesn’t work that way.” —Lou Holz, football player, coach, and analyst

During practice, successful coaches place their players in scenarios they anticipate might occur over the course of a game. Players practice making decisions in those scenarios again and again. That way, when faced with an unanticipated challenge in a real game, the feelings of pressure are eliminated.

After all, if the team is merely executing a play they’ve already practiced 20 times, then the crucial nature of the moment is minimized. If a coach calls out an anticipated play at a particular moment, then no energy is lost on second guessing or unproductive conversation.

Players are able to maximize opportunities, because those opportunities have already been extensively and thoroughly prepared for.

Laying the Groundwork Starts Now

“Success doesn’t come from pie-in-the-sky thinking. It’s the result of consciously doing something each day that will add to your overall excellence.” —Nick Saban, football coach

Big moments might seem, to those watching games, like flashes of brilliant insight on the part of coaches. The truth is, they’re more likely the result of a conversation where every eventuality was laid out, every circumstance considered, and every step determined. They come out of a well-prepared team and a decision that was carefully made in a setting far removed from the pressures and distractions of a big moment.

Big successes occur when preparation meets opportunity, enhanced by analysis and repetition. 

Sure, the concept of a momentary stroke of brilliance is alluring. Grinding away in relentless preparation might not seem as exciting, however, it’s the best way to ensure you’re ready to meet opportunities when they arrive and create your own moment of brilliance.

Become a leader who is proactive and makes a positive difference in their team members’ lives. Get in touch today!