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How the Drive to Get Better Keeps the Best at the Top

September 28, 2021 • Athletes & Coaches

How often do we equate success with talent? All the time. But the reality is success isn’t created by talent alone. Just like we might see immense talent squandered, we also see underdogs unexpectedly overachieve. In more than 15 years as a sports agent representing top athletes and coaches, I had a front-row seat to peak performance. What was the difference between those who maximized their potential, and those who didn’t?  It’s not talent, it’s drive.

Of course, being talented helps the best get to the top, but the ones that stay there push every day to be better than yesterday. They did not only have a drive to achieve, but a drive to get better, to up their game every day.

The Difference Between the Drive to Achieve and the Drive to Get Better

There is a big difference between someone who works hard to achieve and someone who works hard to get better every day. Achievement is fleeting. It comes and it goes. I saw so many top athletes and coaches achieve incredibly impressive things.

However, the ones who stayed at the top were asking, “Now what? What’s next?” just 24 hours after a big win. Why? The best athletes in the world can’t be complacent because someone will take their spot. They can literally see their replacements practicing hard in the minor leagues, preparing for the draft, and they know they must stay on their A-game.

What Are You Chasing and Why?

They weren’t chasing the next championship, the next award, the next Emmy. That’s not what they were chasing. They were chasing this opportunity inside of themselves every day, to raise the bar, to get better. That is a huge difference and one that keeps athletes like Tom Brady, LeBron James, and Serena Williams at the top for 15+ years.

I had a coach once who won a national championship. It was an unbelievable achievement, but after he celebrates with his team, what does he do? The next day he’s immediately on the phone begging a kid to come to play basketball for him. He’d been recruiting that young man for years. He was inside of this get better mindset and understood his opportunity to keep improving his team. Then that afternoon he was breaking down film so that he could get even better, even though he’d won a national championship. He knew the work didn’t stop because of achievement.

Achievement Breed Complacency

Achievement breeds complacency. People at the top don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. Nobody wants to say, “I’m complacent.” That’s the interesting part about complacency. It’s like it’s this invisible thing that takes root inside of you, that you don’t even see is there. So, I would challenge you to recognize that the talent and drive to achieve can get you there, but the drive to get better is what will keep you there.

Learn to love the process, embrace the journey, and find joy in the everyday discipline that is what separates the best from the rest.

Achievement breeds complacency. Talent and a drive to achieve can get you there, but the drive to get better every day is what keeps the best at the top.

Get Your Tickets for My TedxBuckhead Talk

Did you enjoy this blog? If so, I’d like to invite you to get tickets to my upcoming TedxBuckhead talk on Sunday, October 17th in Atlanta, GA. I will be digging deeper into how the best up their game and would love for you to join me. General Admission is free.

More on Peak Performance

The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams, and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. The Energized Leader Training helps you and your team align your energy with the important and avoid costly burnout. Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops teach business people the framework for successful negotiating so that you can close more deals while building stronger relationships. Her Leadership Huddles are a monthly group coaching community to guide you towards your full potential. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes. 



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