Mentoring Mondays


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“Pushing Past the One-Yard Line and Breaking through to Peak Performance”

In this week’s review of The Seven Minute Difference: Small Steps to Big Changes , the author compares one’s quest for success to a football game. For those of us who are sports fans, this makes sense. You push off from the starting line and march down the field to your opponent’s one-yard line.  Suddenly, the defense gets strong, and the offense seems to grow nervous and cannot push through that last one-yard into the end zone. Thus, having to settle for less than complete success.

“In life, as in football, winning matters. No matter how much energy, effort, and attention we devote to getting ‘almost’ there, if we fall short of achieving our goals we never enjoy the satisfaction and fulfillment that comes with true success. Even though we ran 99 yards, if we cannot move past the one-yard line toward our own peak performance, we have to settle for less.” What happened? Did our opponents hold us back? Or was it a lack of confidence, commitment, strategy or action? Sometimes we create our own one-yard line barriers that prevent us from fully realizing our potential and achieving peak performance.

With seven-minute ideas and micro-actions, you can destroy the self-defeating barriers to inaction, indecision, insecurity and unpreparedness that can prevent you from reaching your own end-zone of success. “In every organization only a portion of the people achieve real success. Those people who make it to the top are those who have torn down the artificial barriers of procrastination and indecision. You can be one of those people, too.” Don’t abandon your purpose. As we learned in earlier chapters of this book, by aligning your choices, priorities and dreams, you direct your actions toward achieving your goals and fulfilling your purpose.

Go back and review your earlier micro-action exercises and ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you putting your purpose as a leader, teacher, mentor or supporter to work?
  • Do your goals, beliefs, and actions align with your purpose?
  • Does your vision accurately reflect your passion, desires, and purpose or do you need to reexamine your mission in life?

Think about this seven-minute idea: “What we do for others is often what brings us the greatest joy and fulfillment in life.” If your mission/purpose is based on feeding your ego in an organization that serves the public, you may fall short of the end-zone. Do you remember the story of the farmer who placed a jar over a pumpkin blossom? The blossom could have grown into a magnificent pumpkin but the limitations imposed by the thin glass barrier confined its growth. Don’t let your ego or other barriers limit your growth. Here are some micro-actions to get you back on track toward breaking through to peak performance:

Micro-Action: Assessing your room for growth – Take the next seven to ten minutes to assess your skills. What hopes, dreams, activities make your heart pound and your palms sweat? What do you love most? What makes you willing to push through the tough times?

Micro-Action: Discovering and living your mission – Take seven minutes to read through the words below and identify those that are connected to your mission in life.  Then create your own list of terms you might use to describe your mission: 

educate                       peace                           vision

motivate                      patience                      clarify

encourage                   kindness                      strategic

love                             teach                           prioritize

hope                            play                             organize

joy                               serve                            simplify

work                            feed                             team

passion                        lead                             follow

creativity                     advocate                      flexible

faith                            health                          write

Micro Action: Setting One-Yard Line Goals – What are your one-yard line goals? What one-yard line goals would make a difference in your life? Consider some of these:

  • Could you accomplish 5 percent more by increasing your activity level at work every day?
  • Could you handwrite two or more thank-you notes a day to your colleagues telling them how important they are to you?
  • Are you willing to take 15 minutes at the end of every day to create a written plan of action for the next day (a “to do” list would be sufficient)?
  • Can you push yourself to make sure that you are truly creating the image that you want to project?

The final micro-action for this entry is to take seven minutes and set some one-yard line goals for this week and, each day, check the list to determine whether you have made it to the end zone.

Good luck! We are cheering for you!


Source: The Seven Minute Difference: Small Steps to Big Changes, by Allyson Lewis, Kaplan Publishing.

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