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Welcome to 2018!

So, what New Year’s resolutions or intentions have you created for yourself?

Or, perhaps you’re not someone who wants to develop any target for the year because in the past you’ve not been able to keep your resolution.

Any Given Sunday

If you know me personally, then you know that I’m not into sports. I’d prefer to have a message. But, sports can often be considered a metaphor for life. There’s so much emotion, passion, grit, and of course, wins and losses in life as in any sports game.

However, one element that every athlete knows is that you don’t get to be the best without immense amounts of practice and taking it one step at a time. In the movie, “Any Given Sunday” (which candidly, I never saw, but know of the scene because I’m in sales), Al Pacino’s character makes a great speech to his football team as the coach during a must-win game:

You know, when you get old, in life, things get taken from you. I mean, that’s…that’s…that’s a part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losin’ stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch…And I know, if I’m gonna have any life anymore it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that’s what living is, the six inches in front of your face. Now I can’t make you do it…Now, what are you gonna do?

Think About the Inches Every Day

When you were in school or perhaps with your parents, someone said to you that you needed to work hard. Somebody told you that there are no shortcuts. Sure, sometimes people get lucky breaks. But, if you’re sitting down early into this New Year and you’re wondering how you’re going to get from where you are to where you want to be, then you have to think of the inches.

Buddy, you have to take it––sometimes literally––one inch at a time.

Often, it’s said that youth is wasted on the young. But, I don’t think that’s true. I’ve seen plenty of young people who have an intuitive sense, and they understand that to succeed and get from A to Z or to be the best, they have to take it in stages, one inch at a time. I’ve also seen plenty of older folks who perhaps should know better, and they begin a New Year, project, resolution or intention with a bang. They get all excited and motivated and they’re raring to go, only to slowly lose steam as the weeks pass and by the end of the first month of the year, they’re back to where they started.

It doesn’t matter who you are in life, most of us have to put in the hard work, and that means taking it one inch and one step at a time. But, there’s a little more to that recipe than meets the eye.

Supporting the Inches

I’ve often had people come to me and ask me about my success. They see a great home, family life, and several businesses. But, it didn’t happen magically. And success is not easy––getting to it, or keeping it. By the way, success doesn’t have to mean money. It could mean a great family life, or experiences or whatever it is that sets your soul on fire. However, the inches that I achieve in every area of my life always come with a view that includes the following:

  • Relentless focus: Understanding every day that I wake up that it’s going to be a repeat of the day before and I’m going to keep a constant attention on what I want to achieve. Life is not about the fantastic one-off moments like weddings or big bonuses. The reality is that life consists of countless days where you get up and do the same thing as you did the day before––only a little better or a little closer to the goal you want to achieve. But, to achieve something, you have to get back to it Every. Single. Day. In other words, your goal has to be an essential part of your every day.
  • Awareness of the inches: Even if you were an airline pilot who entered into the cockpit of his plane every day and went off to some new and exciting destination, the pilot still understands that he has to go through pre-flight checks and procedures at the start of each flight. You can keep your eye on the goal ahead. That’s always important. But you have to understand every day that your target will come to you––slowly. It means constant practice, especially when you don’t want to do it. It may mean getting up early or working long hours. It may represent countless things depending on your goal. Consider yourself a long-haul pilot, and it’s going to take time to get to your destination, so get used to the ride.
  • Perspective: Nothing comes easy, and one of the and best things you can do for yourself is to remember is that laughter and a proper attitude are some of the best medicines in life. Understand that when you set out to do something, there are going to be many moments or events where you’re going to have some challenge or set-back to overcome. During these times, it’s essential to maintain perspective. You have to be able to stay centered, in a good mental space and keep pushing forward, even when you have to take a few steps back.

If you’re looking to achieve something wonderful in this New Year, remember life’s a game of inches.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact” (Free Digital Download)

© 2017 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.