Peter Drucker famously said that what gets measured gets improved. So the next logical question is whether we are measuring the right things.
If you saw the movie Moneyball, then you will immediately understand the point. Babe Ruth is considered one of, and possibly the greatest, hitter of all time. But his batting average was actually not the best. He currently ranks 10th all-time at .342. When you look at home runs, he’s 3rd all-time with 714 and 2nd if you look at his runs batted in (2,214). In other words, if you go strictly by his batting average, you might not give him the credit he deserves when you look at the bigger picture.
In Moneyball, Brad Pitt’s character, Oakland A’s manager, Billy Beane, teams up with Yale economics graduate, Peter Brand. They use a different method to evaluate a player’s ability to contribute to the organization. Because this is more accepted now, you would be forgiven if you thought that is how baseball teams have always managed their personnel. At the time, it was a massive change. As a result, it was nearly impossible to convince folks that they had been studying the wrong metrics.
It’s very easy this time of year to focus on the wrong metrics. Everyone is talking about goal setting as we approach the end of 2018 and barrel ahead into 2019. While I’m a big fan of goal setting, I’m not going to talk about it here. Goal setting won’t have a lot of value for you if you aren’t writing them down and staying accountable. I’m a proponent of Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever. Because of this, I have taken the course and read the book. But before you go off goal setting, this episode is more concerned about where you’ve been. And based on that, determine if you have been measuring the right things.
The late great coach John Wooden said this: “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
Notice how there isn’t anything in his statement about fame, accolades, money, position or even recognition. There are two words present in his statement that I will emphasize because they connected with where I wanted to take this episode. Those two words are peace and effort.
When I think of peace, especially in the context of Mr. Wooden’s statement, I think of it as that sense of satisfaction where I can look in the mirror and be content with who I am. That I have become the best version of me that I can possibly become. Part of being you is connecting with others so everyone benefits corporately from who we are individually. Brene Brwon said that the absence of love and belonging always brings suffering.
Ginger and I visited a church this weekend and a pastor, Mark Morgan, who has been in some form of ministry for the last 46 years, was retiring. He shared some incredibly poignant thoughts that I thought were tremendous reminders of the importance of YOU being YOU! As he gently reminded those attending, we all have things we don’t like about ourselves. Things that we question or constant reminders of previous failures. Maybe we’re plagued with thoughts of inadequacy or have never been bold enough to take the steps to fulfill our dreams.
Whatever they are, they nag all of us. You aren’t unique in this. As a result, whatever your role, do it well or do it poorly. What Pastor Mark said was critically important was knowing who you are and being true to that. This connects well with what Coach Wooden meant regarding success. Be the best YOU that YOU can be!
Our past doesn’t define our future. We choose who we become. Many believe, and maybe you believe, that what happens in your life is unique and therefore makes you into who you are. The truth is that hardship is normal. We don’t all experience the same things, but hardship, difficulty, pain, and heartache – they are part and parcel of this life.
Part of the reason why this life was not meant to be lived in isolation is having others to help us through these difficult moments. As Pastor Mark was talking about his relationship with his Dad, he said that one characteristic his father exhibited was fortitude. That is the ability to live through any situation life brings and maintain emotional, mental, and spiritual balance.
I like that definition because it balance lends itself to peace. As a Christ-follower, I attribute much of my ability to maintain this balance to the supernatural assistance I receive as I choose to share my load with Jesus. I’m not going to allow any circumstance to steal my ability to deal with it. But I could not say that without having Jesus in my life.
But don’t misunderstand: I’m not saying that now all of a sudden, there’s no effort required on my part. Hardly! There is a cost to being the best YOU that YOU can be. It’s not easy and will require 100% of your committed effort. As you know, if it’s worth achieving, there will be a cost. when you look back on the meaningful things in your life, you will find that it cost you – maybe not dollars, but certainly time and energy. Therefore, you have to ask yourself if you are willing to pay the cost to be the best YOU?
Here’s the thing: I don’t want you to spend your life chasing something that you thought would make you happy only to wind up miserable in the end. Because of this, I think it’s important that you step back and evaluate what you are spending your time and energy pursuing. You very well may be aligned with a noble pursuit…but that won’t make it easy. It is going to take effort.
Admiral William McRaven said, “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.” In other words, you must dedicate yourself to accomplishing small things to prepare you for accomplishing big things. So, if you want to write a book, start with writing a word. Maybe you want to lose five pounds in the next 12 weeks. So start by going for a walk instead of sitting on the couch for the next 30 minutes. Or if you want to become a better husband/father/friend, find someone that you think exhibits the characteristic and ask him for his best tip! But for goodness sake, start!
I’ll leave you with this final thought from Pastor Mark Morgan: character trumps gifting, talent and capability every time. When I hear those words, I know that for us as leaders, it means part of our look back is to determine how we should measure our character. Subsequently, where is my energy required to produce peace in my life and in my home? I don’t think you will ever go wrong focusing on improving your character.
Great Quotes From This Episode:
“What gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker
“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” – John Wooden
“In the absence of love and belonging, there will always be suffering.” – Brene Brown
“If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.” – Admiral William McRaven
Resources Mentioned In This Episode:
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