Life Is A Game of Inches

March 7, 2011

“Life is a game of inches – and 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 – we claw with our fingernails for that inch – because we know when we add up all those inches, that’s what’s going to make the difference between winning and losing – between living and dying.”
— Al Pacino as coach Tony D’Amato in Any Given Sunday

At the end of last week I was frustrated by my inability to make progress on a few key fronts in my business. On Saturday morning I sat down to reflect on my state of mind – how I’d gotten into it and how I could get out. On the top of a pad of paper I wrote a simple question – What am I forgetting? Looking through an old journal, the above quote caught my eye. I dug up the full Al Pacino clip on You Tube and it really hit home. I was spending so much time looking for “big plays” that I wasn’t doing many of the small things needed to move the flags down the field. I wasn’t fighting for the inches – even though I know that’s the secret of success, especially in this market.

Consider This:

The inches we need are everywhere around us. We miss them because we don’t think they’ll be enough – they won’t get us to where we want to go. So we don’t fight for them. Somehow it’s easy to forget that they add up over time and make all the difference in the world. The worst part is that we lose our edge when we stop fighting for them. And we need that edge. It’s what keeps us sharp enough to make the big plays when the opportunities arise.

Try This:

1. Are you fighting for the “inches” in what you’re doing right now?
2. If not, where are you letting small successes fall through the cracks and possibly losing momentum?
3. Can you identify 1 or 2 areas where you can make progress immediately even if it’s not a “big play”?
4. Dive in and make progress this week.
5. You’ll notice increased energy and focus as a result.

— Doug Sundheim is a leadership consultant, author, and speaker. His book on Smart Risk-Taking is due out in 2012.

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