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How to Unlock your Mental Side of Success

by Kevin D. Crone

June 26, 2017
Unlock Mental Success

As a Canadian, it’s hard not to compare (to some degree) success in hockey, with success in business and life, even though it’s different. So, let’s look at what so many said about “Sid the Kid Crosby”, after he won the Conn Smythe award for being the best player in the recent playoffs.

His teammates are just in awe of number 87’s determination to win again this year. He was planning how to do it right after they won it last year.  “The details, what he wants to accomplish, it’s pretty incredible,” Letang, Crosby’s long-time teammate said, with admiration earlier in June. “I don’t know that I’ve been around an athlete, not just in hockey, that is as driven as Sid is,” said his Penguin coach Mike Sullivan. “He leaves no stone unturned when it came to eating right, training, and looking out for his teammates.” He is pretty inspirational when he plays and gets to a level that few can get to,” said teammate Matt Cullen. Team Canada teammates like Jonathan Toews and Matt Duchene and Couture are amazed at Crosby’s level. “He’s fun to watch up close and is inspiring.”

Being just a regular fan, I marvel at how he holds onto the puck, takes on all comers in the corners, drives the net, makes passes as if he has eyes in the back of his head. His level of competency and commitment is amazing. We call it talent. He’s the best player of his generation say most experts.

As a person in my field, I have studied success my whole adult life, and talent and skills alone don’t seem to be enough. Again and again, we discount this fuzzy, non-measurable, intangible area called, “attitude”. Yet every player says it’s the mental side that makes the difference between average and being a Star.

Just think about the best years you’ve had in business. Were you not so focused that you did whatever it took, you had the plan and took on all the difficulties and made all the sacrifices necessary? Maybe it was for one year, maybe a couple, or maybe longer. You were hungry and driven.  Well, that’s the mental side of success. During my 50 or so years, I took a survey of every corporate group I worked with. I asked thousands to think of a successful person they know or know of and describe their success characteristics. I would distinguish what they said on a flipchart using the categories of: Attitude, Knowledge and Skill. Attitude won every single time, usually about 70 % of the time.

I just watched the movie, “The Becoming of Warren Buffett“. Again, the same thing. He discloses that the cause of so much of his success was focus. He just put so much into every effort that few others do, say his partners, friends, family and competitors. In the movie, Buffett says he has only one diploma on the wall and that’s his Dale Carnegie Course diploma. That got my attention. He described how it helped him be confident and better at expressing his thoughts and dealing with people. During the movie you see in action how his training paid off. Again, he does what it takes. He worked on his attitude of confidence and worked on his communication and people skills and habits. He is humble and incredibly in the productive zone all the time, just like Sidney Crosby.

So how about us?  

  • Are we blaming what we don’t know when maybe it’s that we just aren’t implementing what we do know?
  • Do we have that success plan in mind to make our business year the success we want?
  • Are we focused on doing everything it takes?

I remember being in that success zone and, yes, there were prices to be paid and sacrifices like: time, family – even health.  It was always a battle to make it all work, but in the end, it was well worth it. I think the young people I see today are in the same battle – so busy with everything, so swamped, so stressed. Not much different, except they have a lot more incredible communication tools that give them instant knowledge.

My advice – Don’t get bluffed out thinking knowledge alone will make the biggest difference. Let’s remember it’s still attitude! Getting in that mental zone and staying there as much as you can is the answer. And keep improving our skills and habits helps