In 1962, the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Punch Imlach, knew that his team had to improve to win the Stanley Cup. Prior to the start of the season he wrote to each player requiring they, “… report (to training camp) in good condition … able to do 20 push-ups, 20 sit-ups, and 30 knee bends.”
How times have changed. As in all fields, the standards for professional hockey players today are a world apart from what they were in 1962. And the bar is incessantly being raised. The need to improve, to grow stronger, is never-ending.
So how can you keep improving, keep getting stronger? Here are four ways (with thanks to leadership expert John Maxwell, whose ideas have helped crystalize my thinking*):
Friends, colleagues, teachers, mentors. Intentionally or not, the people you associate with will influence your beliefs, values and actions. If you want to keep improving then associate with people who inspire you, who you can learn from, and who help you to grow.
You are your media. It’s easy to expose yourself exclusively to mindless media, or media that reinforces your existing beliefs. That’s not a formula for growth. Growth requires exposure to media that stretches you, educates you, and challenges you. Search out those media.
Experiencing great events – courses, conferences, and the like – can inspire and shape you in unique and dramatic ways. Determine your improvement goals then commit to always having a next event you will attend.
There’s no question that your environment affects your psychology – how you think, how you feel and how you act. In some environments we flourish; in others we stagnate. Be purposeful. Identify, find or create the environments in which you thrive.
The need to improve, to grow stronger, is never-ending. And that Maple Leafs team that was challenged to report to camp “in good condition”? They went on to win their first of three consecutive Stanley Cups.
(* see Maxwell’s article: http://www.success.com/article/john-c-maxwell-how-to-design-an-optimum-life)