In athletic competition, there are days everything comes together: perfect weather, perfect rest, perfect nutrition, perfect venue, and perfect preparation synergize to create a perfect day—and you win.
Then there are days when everything goes wrong: terrible weather, a restless night, a funky stomach, a so-so venue, and a poor training session or two conspire to create a bad day—and you miss the podium or DNF.
Either way, on either day, you give it your all. You give one hundred percent and let the chips fall where they may.
Or do you?
Maybe you expect the sun, moon, and stars to align and serve up a victory on a silver platter. You hold out for ideal circumstances. You wait until success is virtually guaranteed before you commit.
Lots of people do this. They give themselves an out by generating a litany of excuses. They find a reason not to try their hardest. They allow external factors to determine the quality of their effort.
That’s a big mistake.
The Conditional Conquistador
The perfect day I described above almost never happens. Neither does the terrible day. Most competition days—like most days in life—fall somewhere in between. You don’t determine the circumstances. That’s why people who wait around for the perfect time to give their full effort undermine their chance at success.
Here’s what happens when you’re conditional:
- While you look for a perfect moment, you miss the good ones that can lead to great results.
- You become slow to respond, and you respond slowly—in all conditions.
- People notice your effort depends on everything going right, which makes them reluctant to offer you an opportunity.
I advise everyone—whether they’re in athletics or business—to give their maximum effort all the time, no matter what the conditions are.
I recently worked with an athlete who was in a tough position: he had the raw physical goods to succeed against world-class competition, but didn’t have the means to get the best equipment. At his level, this made a real difference. It meant he had no chance of winning.
I told him if he showed the same effort when he had zero chance of winning as when he had every chance of winning, his chance would come. I convinced him people invest top dollar in athletes they trust to lay it all on the line. On good days, bad days, and all the days in between.
He took my advice and went full gas that year. It paid off. He got noticed. A team with the best equipment gave him a spot. He seized the moment, won championships for two consecutive seasons, and earned an income he never thought possible.
He put himself out there every day. You should, too.
Because you never know who’s watching—and someone is always watching.