November 17, 2009

You are only as good as...

...the last thing you've done.

I often use this common saying with the soccer team that I coach (slightly modified: "...your last game"). The goal is to emphasize continual improvement. No matter what they had accomplished in the past, there is no way to replace a current failure.

What if you were judged based on what you are working on today or your most recent project? Does it reflect what you think of your work? Are you achieving your potential? Are there things you would want to change before being judged?

Too many of us go through the motions at times and start to coast. Coasting and settling is a slippery slope that so many people get caught sliding down. As you coast, you slow down, and before you know it...you haven't gone too far at all.

What you will do (not can do) defines who you are and what your value is to those around you. Make sure it is great.

2 comments:

Doreen A. Clemons said...

I'd argue that simply from the standpoint that longevity *matters*. One or two data points? A flash in the proverbial pan. Sometimes just knowing when to quit is the key. That's where paying attention to the first and second derivatives is important.

Basically, it's the difference between, say, Heath Ledger and Humphrey Bogart. Bogie paid his dues--bad gangster flicks, "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (hated that movie!) and all. But it didn't fizzle out in some in some self-indulgent hookers-and-blow meltdown in the ultimately futile chase of perfection.

To my nearly 42-year-old self, it's ultimately about legacy, rather than the here and now. It's about knowing your strengths, respecting your limitations, and looking at the long-term, rather than raising the bar for its own sake.

Anyhoo, my two-cents.

Nate Schneider said...

Doreen, I'm not suggesting that you should sell out for the short term and disregard everything else. In fact, I'm saying the opposite.

My point is that to achieve long term goals, you need to continually work towards them and not lean on past achievements as proof of progress.

Longevity and a legacy is made up of moments and today is one of them. To use an overused cliche, the point is to make the most out of each journey and not to just focus on the destination.