If you attended the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) conference last fall, you probably heard a stimulating keynote presentation by Jon Gordon, a motivational speaker and author.
Gordon shared tips from his book The Energy Bus, which explains how to fuel your life, work and team with positive energy. He suggested, among other things, focusing on “gratitude rather than stress,” and he discussed how to maintain a positive work environment for your employees.
“Inspire your drivers and let them know that they have the power to make a difference in people’s lives,” he told NAPT attendees. “Engage your team.”
Gordon’s new book, Training Camp (Wiley, 2009), details what the best do better than everyone else. Here are 11 traits of “the best of the best,” as described in the book:
1. The best know what they truly want. At some point in their lives, the best have a “Eureka!” moment when their vision becomes clear. Suddenly, they realize what they really, truly want to achieve. They find their passion. When that happens, they are ready to strive for greatness. They are ready to pay the price.
2. The best want it more. We all want to be great. But only the best of the best are willing to do what it takes to be great. The best don’t just think about their desire for greatness; they act on it. They have a high capacity for work. They do the things that others won’t do, and they spend more time doing it. When everyone else is sleeping, the best are practicing and thinking and improving.
3. The best are always striving to get better. They are always looking for ways to learn, apply, improve and grow. They stay humble and hungry. They are lifelong learners. They never think they have “arrived” — because they know that once they think that, they’ll start sliding back to the place from which they came.
4. The best do ordinary things better than everyone else. For all their greatness, the best aren’t that much better than the others. They are simply a little better at a lot of things. Everyone thinks that success is complicated, but it’s really simple. In fact, the best don’t do anything different. They just do the ordinary things better.
5. The best “zoom focus.” Success is all about the fundamentals, and the fundamentals are little and ordinary and often boring. It’s not just about practice, but focused practice. It’s not just about taking action, but taking zoom-focused action. It’s about practicing and perfecting the fundamentals.
6. The best are mentally stronger. Today’s world is no longer a sprint or a marathon. It’s a series of sprints combined with a boxing match. You’re not just running; you are getting hit along the way. The best are able to respond to and overcome all of this with mental and emotional toughness. They are able to tune out the distractions and stay calm, focused and energized when it counts.
7. The best overcome their fear. Everyone has fears. The best of the best all have fear, but they overcome it. To beat your enemy, you must know your enemy. Average people shy away from their fears. They either ignore them or hide from them. However, the best seek them out and face them with the intent of conquering them.
8. The best seize the moment. When the best are in the middle of their performance, they are not thinking, “What if I win?” or, “What if I lose?” They are not thinking, “What if I make a mistake or miss the shot?” They are not interested in what the moment produces but are concerned only with what they produce in the moment. When all eyes are watching, they rise to the occasion. As a result, the best define the moment rather than letting the moment define them.
9. The best tap into a power greater than themselves. The best are conductors, not resistors. They don’t generate their own power, but act as conduits for the greatest power source in the world. It’s not always politically correct, but you can’t talk about greatness without talking about God. It would be like talking about breathing without mentioning the importance of air.
10. The best leave a legacy. The best live and work with a bigger purpose. They leave a legacy by making their lives about more than them. This larger purpose is what inspires them to be the best and strive for greatness over the long term. It helps them move from success to significance.
11. The best make everyone around them better. They do this through their own pursuit of excellence and in the excellence they inspire in others. One person in pursuit of excellence raises the standards of everyone around them. And they do this in both their work and life. ... The point is to strive to be your best and inspire others to be their best, because it’s in the striving where you find greatness, not in the outcome.