In the 2009 commencement speech at ASU (video), President Obama shares one phrase that applies for both business and sports.
“Don’t stop adding to your body of work”
Your body of work is you main tool to get your job done. This means you should be training everyday to get better, physically, socially and mentally for both sports and business. This compiles to your success and your constant growth, and maintaining a life that has an exponential slope growth.
I will try to point out some tips that to my belief are key and universal for growth and adding to your body of work:
Whatever it is that you do, you must read. Feed your brain everyday, because whatever road you wish to take, chances are, someone else has already been past that road. Reading increases creativity, builds self-esteem, and improves memory and focus. Make sure you read something that is going to make you a better person, something that adds to your body of work. It is a highly competitive world out there, and you must keep up if you want to stay in the game.
At least 4 days a week, I know most people say at least 3, but I would like to challenge you to do more. If you are a sports person, you most likely are doing more than this, and maybe you could share with us the unlimited benefits of this. Exercising will improve your health, your everyday mood, and it will make you look good too. You will find out that by exercising you will be more productive at work, and one thing that I have personally found out (open for debate) is that the people that you exercise with or play a sport with are by far your healthiest relationships. You will probably never hear them complaining, and most of all, they will push you and motivate you when you need it, and they will be first to applaud you when you get it done.
3. Increase your network
For sports or business, always increase your network. Ask questions, advice, get all the help you can get to become a better person. Stay updated, diversify, talk to different people, different generations, there is always something new to learn, find it. Be nice to people who you meet on your way up because you will meet them on your way down. Be always honest and integer to your network, and ask for feedback. They are the ones who will tell you who you really are (and it is most likely not who you think you are).
4. Set up ambitious goals
I know lots of different people who say phrases like “shoot for the moon and you’ll at least land among the stars”, but they do not believe it. I ask some questions and then they say, “let’s be realistic…” and continue with saying something like “it’s too hard” or “I am never going to get there”. Well, these people couldn’t be more right, it is too hard, and they are never going to get there with that attitude. When you shoot for the moon, you wake up thinking about the moon, you live your day aiming for that moon, and when you think you are done, then you just can’t stop thinking about that moon, and that’s the real passion, how will I get to that moon?. If your goal is not exciting enough to get you off bed on a Sunday morning, the you are not passionate enough, or your goals are too short.
My recommendation is wake up everyday, exercise, read, talk to people, align these actions to shoot for that moon. I know it’s not easy, but in the end, that effort will pay, and make sure that once you achieve that success, once you have that landed in the moon, do not stop adding to your body of work, because by then, this will not be an effort, it will be a lifestyle.