Champions Are Not Born, They Are Created!

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May 7, 2024 by Sean Luce

Bo Pelini, the head football coach at the University of Nebraska, is a member of a very select group who coached a Super Bowl winning team and a BCS National Championship team. You could say he knows what it takes to be a champion.

At a recent Peak Advisor Alliance conference, Coach Pelini spoke to our clients and shared his key lessons on what it takes to be a champion in business and in life. Here are three of the Coach's lessons that resonated with me.

Be process driven. Coach Pelini said, "What I've learned all the way back from when we won the Super Bowl with the 49ers and right on through to winning a National Championship at LSU to being around a lot of successful people, is to have a program that is process-driven." Having grown up in Nebraska and followed the Huskers since the legendary days of coach Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne, I can tell you Nebraska rarely got the best recruits. However, Nebraska had a process-driven system that was consistently implemented. This system turned good athletes into great champions. Coach Pelini has plugged right into that process, too.

As an advisor, having a process and system for every operation in your office is essential to maximizing your potential. It ensures that nothing slips through the cracks and frees up your time to focus on developing client solutions, deepening client relationships and generating new business.

Be consistently excellent. The coach really struck a nerve when he said, "I learned this a long time ago when somebody told me, 'you are who you are when no one is watching.'" He followed that by saying, "Having success is really about consistency. That means you can't go through your life like a switch turning things on and off. You are who you are every minute of the day and ultimately what you become and the success you're going to have comes from all the seemingly insignificant decisions that you're faced with each and every day."

He went on to describe how players like Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders and the great coaches he's been around truly understand that, "The guys who are consistent and who try to be the best they can be every minute of every day" are the ones who become champions.

As an advisor, are you as diligent in making sure the "under the hood" of your office is as excellent as the shiny exterior your clients see? Would you be comfortable seeing what happens behind the scenes published on the front page of your local newspaper? In Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, he points out that Jobs was obsessive about making the inside of the computer as elegant as the outside design. Jobs said, "A great carpenter isn't going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet, even though nobody's going to see it. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through." Likewise, are you carrying the quality all the way through in your business and personal dealings?

Make your effort a talent. Whether the stock market goes up or down is beyond your control. Whether it rains or snows today is beyond your control. Likewise, the amount of innate talent you have in any particular area is beyond your control-but that shouldn't stop you.

Coach Pelini tells his team, "Some guys can run faster than others, some guys can jump higher, some are physically stronger, some may be more intelligent. But, at the end of the day, the one thing that you can control, and which I really believe is a talent, is effort. If you give great effort, that is a talent and you can exhibit it on a daily basis."

As an advisor, are you giving the effort necessary to be a champion in the areas you can control? It's easy to toss up your hands and blame an uncertain economy for a lack of new clients. And while you can't control the economy, you can control how you react to it and how much effort you put into overcoming outside forces."

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