Leadership Message: Renting Success – One Day at a Time

“Success isn’t owned, it’s leased and rent is due every day” – JJ Watt, Defensive Lineman for the Houston Texans

Well, 2014 is behind us, and the results of yesterday are just that. Now we stand at the beginning of 2015 with new expectations to meet and new challenges to face.  That’s why I chose this month’s quote from JJ Watt, the NFL’s defensive player of the year for the last two years

“Success isn’t owned, it’s leased and rent is due every day”. 

Like many of you, I enjoy watching a good football game. Yes, it’s great to cheer for your favorite team, and hometown support is an important element in winning.  But it’s leadership, teamwork, determination, hard work, practice, and execution that truly tips the sales.  All of these are required for you to have a chance of winning – and they are required every time. 

Think about it – every game starts off with the same score:  0-0.  It doesn’t matter whether you won your last game, or your last 12.  It’s the same score.  And if you don’t bring you’re “A” game – if you don’t give it your all ON THAT DAY, you will lose.  There’s no “hall passes” given for past success.  It’s a new game, with the same potential to win or lose. Success, therefore, is determined by those who earn it ON THAT DAY.

JJ Watt is one of those unique players that epitomizes this concept.  His work ethic is amazing, and the intensity he brings to every down he plays is inspiring.  Much like other successful players in the NFL – Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees – his focus on being the best he can be is amazing. 

It’s not just the performance on game day that separates these stand outs from the rest.  It’s their investment in preparation.  For JJ Watt, that investment includes constant practice and intense physical training and development.  The same holds for Aaron, Payton, and Drew.  Weight lifting.  Strength training.  Aerobic exercises.  All key to peak performance on game day.

To be fair, all NFL players worth their salt make this investment.  But what truly separates players like JJ, Aaron, Payton, and Drew is their mentality for success.  They demonstrate an attitude that shows success is earned every day.  Students of the game, they study their opponents plays, learn from their mistakes, prepare for every possible outcome, and recognize that “just showing up” is not enough.  They perform at the levels they do because they constantly focus on building success. They know the second they become satisfied with their performance is the second they will cease to improve–and that’s not an option for high performance players.

There are absolutely parallels in both business and life in general. Every day we must be driven to improve our performance, to add to our abilities, to seek better ways of executing. Even when things are going our way—when prospects finally accept a meeting, or long-pursued deals close, or sources of talent seem to materialize out of nowhere—we cannot rest on those achievements.

Yes, we want to recognize and celebrate those accomplishments, to dance in the end zone or leap into the stands.  Go ahead!

But also recognize that was yesterday.  That was 2014.  Today is a new day and 2015 a new year.  Success is not earned, its leased, and rent is due every day. 

Time to earn that success…are you ready to play?

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