Diminishing your greatness – Taking days off

The two sports announcers were discussing the career of Randy Moss, the gifted wide
receiver in professional football. Despite his many accomplishments and
accolades in his prolific career and his volatile personality, they were
talking about one consistent complaint against him. He was accused of not giving
his best at all times. There were times they suggested that he was not fully
engaged. He was said to be known to take some plays off and merely go through
the motions.

The great ones, admired for their record-breaking performances, always went full
throttle, giving their best, even if the play was not designed to go in their
direction. They would never be accused of this trait. We make decisions daily
to be totally involved in critical situations or to skip an opportunity for
another time.

Granted, no one should be expected to go 110 miles an hour 24/7. However, there are
sequences or opportunities when people are counting on you and your production,
to carry the load, contribute your fair share, offer leadership, guidance, and quality
work to reach the goal. During these moments of high expectations, you should
be focused on the fundamentals and pulsating toward peak performance.

When you think about it, there may be predictable instances when you are vulnerable
and prone to a breakdown in engagement or a lack of desire. There may be times
when you are easily distracted from your goal? You should review your
experiences and increase self-awareness.  This will be good for you to guard against the
intermittent propensity to take plays off.

Years ago, my company ran a promotional campaign for one of our drugs to prevent
angina attacks. These are the chest pains some people feel when their heart is
not getting enough oxygen. The rationale for the campaign was there are certain
times of day or certain activities when the demand on the heart is greater than
normal. There are episodes of physical and emotional exertion, hot or cold
weather, stress or eating a large meal which can bring on the attack. If you
knew these triggers, you could take the medicine before and receive the extra
protection or coverage you needed to prevent an attack.

What activities, stressors, challenges or problems do you have that can predictably distract
you and take away your focus? When you need to consistently concentrate to
deliver your best performance, what can hold you back? You can determine this
by evaluating what held you back in the past. Internally, you must watch your
output. You may be a better gauge of when this happens than others. Externally,
eyes are always watching you. People are looking to you to come through in the
clutch and when excellence is required in routine operations.  You can be a leader and model the behavior of
champions. You do not want to rely on excuses to justify personally delivering
less than their best.

If you are in the right job or want to retain your current job until the right job
comes along you want to be the picture of efficiency and productivity. If you
were accustomed to watching the clock to pass the time away, this is no longer
a sound strategy. You need to think about your job and ideally thinking of a
way to improve your job. You add more value to the company if you perform your
job while simultaneously searching for ways to do it better. Constantly share
your ideas with your supervisor. Your net worth and value to the corporation
increases when you are recognized as being engaged on every play. This could be
the quality or attribute that separates you from others in your unit,
department or company.

In tough economic times, you want to demonstrate that when the lights are on and
all eyes are on you, your performance seldom wavers even when performing
repetitive tasks. After all, your heart beat and breathing are repetitive tasks
and you do them quite well. I am sure you don’t ever want to get tired of them.
Imagine how nervous you would feel if your body decided to take plays off.

The true test is how you perform when no one is watching you. We said as a child,
“When the cat is away the mice will play.” We carry this into our work life. It
is common knowledge that people work harder when the supervisor is present. But
the authentic workers are those who give their maximum effort because their
internal standards monitor their desire for excellence. They personally mandate
an all out performance against objectives. They guarantee that when they are
needed, they can be trusted to be fully on the field, consistently on the court
and entirely engaged.

Taking plays off is not an admirable trait and can tarnish a superb reputation. Don’t
let people review your work history and diminish your greatness by claiming you
would often take plays off in the heat of the competition, when you were needed
most.

Copyright © Orlando Ceaser 2011

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