A large part of my work is focused on helping people to perform at their best. 

I spend a lot of time thinking about it, learning about it, experimenting with it, and writing about it.

But as I’ve been experiencing some personal slip-ups lately such as going to bed too late and missing workouts, I’m reminded of something Tim Grover shared during a talk of his which I attended in November 2018.

In case you have no idea who Tim is, he’s Kobe Bryant’s coach, and was Michael Jordan’s coach before that.


Anyway, Tim obviously knows a thing or two about high performance, but it was his thoughts on greatness that really surprised me.

See, what Tim said was that so many of us try really hard to be great, when we haven’t yet fully mastered being average or good

Now that might mean different things to different people, but there are two important things that come to my mind when I hear that…

1) Yes, we need to have a big vision that pulls us forward, a personal operating system or rules that define how we handle decisions, and strategic goals in place if we want to reinvent ourselves…

But we also need to focus on doing the little things day in and day out that move us towards that vision.

2) Stop trying to change where you are right now. If you’re only average at something that’s important to you, great! Sit with that (and by sit, I mean in a “taking action” kinda way) until you’re good at it. Then, and only then, sit with it until you’re great it.

Here’s how Tim recommends getting to greatness:

  • Know what you’re chasing and how to master it
  • Master the concept (after first being average and then good at it)
  • Master the application by taking action (after first being average and then good at it)
  • Master the repeated execution (after first being average and then good at it)

One important side note from Tim: you can’t skip any steps.

If we try to rush through the progression from average to good to great, or leave out one of the steps above, we’re only going to be fooling ourselves into a false sense of competence.

And eventually, people pick up on that.

If something’s really important to you, take your time with it. Focus on mastering being good, or even average, before trying to be great.


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