I was at a book signing recently, and a young lady approached the table and asked me to summarize my book in one sentence. I’m embarrassed to admit that I had never thought of it in those terms before. So, drawing on the age-old political adage “Never answer the question that was asked; answer the question you wish was asked,” I described the highlights of the book in a few sentences. She then turned on a dime, said, “Nope, you didn’t sell it,” and walked away. So much for politics.
As awkward as that exchange was, it really helped me. I thought about it a lot, and it made me realize what my book is. It’s something that I hadn’t realized before. In a sentence: It’s a game plan for living your very best life.
To Win in Life, You Need to Build Your Game Plan
Although I am a lawyer by trade, I spent significant time as an offensive coordinator for a Division II college football team. Before every game, we would come up with a game plan. Now in the college and professional ranks, game plans are talked about, referenced and referred to, but how many people actually get to see a game plan? The answer is, of course: Barely anyone.
A game plan is a very succinct and logical document. It lays out with specificity what’s needed to succeed in different situations and then provides a host of contingencies. The goal of the coach is not just to put together a plan that he or she believes will work, but to then sell it to the players with enthusiasm so that they will execute it with a high degree of confidence. That’s what people need for life, too—a game plan.
In life as in sports
To extend the metaphor a bit: I would always come up with the first ten plays that the football team would run. I would take the time to determine where each player would be on the field, which personnel I wanted on the sidelines, which plays would work best in tandem, and so on.
How often do people do this in life? How many people sit down and really determine the steps, in order, that will be necessary for them to succeed in whatever endeavor they have chosen? The answer, again, is barely anyone.
One of the hardest things to do as a coach is to sell your players on something that seems so simple. All we have to do is complete this play, and the opponent will be in a bind. The team looks at you askance. They want to hear that you deciphered something complex. They want to be wowed by a genius piece of insight. But it’s usually pretty simple. Do this and we’ll win.
It’s simple — but not easy
The same is true with life. Some of the very best pieces of advice that you will ever receive are simple things you can do to move toward success and the attainment of the life you want. But here’s the tricky part—people often confuse simple with easy.
An excellent example of this is the toxic and destructive effects of complaining. There is no bigger waste of time in the world than complaining. It solves nothing and it makes the perceived problem bigger and bigger every time you moan about it. OK, so what’s the answer? Simple—stop complaining. (Simple, but not easy.) Most people are addicted to complaining. They are hardwired to find fault, make an excuse, blame the other guy, and so on. But the movers and shakers of the world understand one immutable truth: Success is on the other side of the problem. They don’t waste a second bemoaning the problem; they immediately begin to think about how to go over it, around it, under it, or through it.
I admire these people and point out to anyone who will listen how you should emulate them. Countless stories from successful people around the world, famous or not, are perfect examples and exemplify strategies that will put anyone in the best possible position to succeed—at anything.
Upon reflection, I realized the stories in my book make it a game plan for living your very best life. So, thank you to the young lady who refused to buy it. You made me figure out the problem, and the problem wasn’t you, young lady . . . it was me.