Photo Credit: Eric TERRADE, Unsplash
My favorite coach of all time, John Wooden, once said: “Make each day your masterpiece."
To me, Wooden was more of a life coach than a sports coach, even though he was the most successful coach in college history in any sport. His lessons applied to all parts of life, not just the sport he coached.
As a coach, Wooden valued and emphasized small incremental improvements each day. It was his way of helping create a "masterpiece team."
Each day, Wooden's small incremental approach to coaching created the all-time Mona Lisa of basketball teams. His teams were the picture of exquisite beauty and power because of his incredible attention to daily details.
Wooden also focused on helping his team doing things right the first time as part of his detailed approach. Wooden said: "If you don't have the time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" Sage advice.
I think about the person in our programs who starts walking then jogging a little more each day. Each day the person gets a little better by completing a manageable workout with a slight increase from the previous day. Using the painting analogy, the runner does not try to paint their running masterpiece all in one day. The runner takes small steps toward their goal each day. And, they do their best to do it right the first time.
The new runner paints a small piece of the running canvass well before painting the next section of their running masterpiece. They don't move to the next level until they have mastered the today's activity. Many champions in our programs started their journey precisely this way.
By taking small achievable steps and getting a little better each day, you become the best version of yourself over time. Success comes by doing a little today well, not skipping today, and trying to work twice as as hard tomorrow to make up for lost time.
Minor improvements each day are how you paint your athletic masterpiece to become the best you can become.
Let me say all of this another way. Wooden was very clear and direct about this next point. He would constantly say that if you miss a practice or slack in practice, you can’t make up for it by working twice as hard tomorrow. Make small improvements today, don't wait until tomorrow. And have the mindset to do a little today so you don't get in the habit of trying to make up what you missed tomorrow.
I've never seen anyone reach their potential by taking the "I choose to miss today but will work twice as hard tomorrow to make up for my loss today approach either."
Taking small steps each day is the road that leads to a personal masterpiece. Focus on today, nothing can be done about yesterday, but you can start being more consistent today. Hope springs eternal by starting to repaint your masterpiece today.
In summary, you create your best athletic masterpiece by being consistent day by day. Each day, one slight improvement contributes to the masterpiece on your athletic canvass that you paint over time.
As the saying goes: "By an inch, it’s a cinch." Just make sure you are consistent in moving forward by an inch each day. Don't try to run 20 miles today to make up for the inch you missed yesterday.
Be the best version of yourself today, just a little bit better than yesterday. Paint your own life, Mona Lisa, starting today and building slowly from there. No one could ask for anything more.
You are champions.
Paint your masterpiece a little at a time day by day