The Diligence Dividend

As I study high performers in every field of endeavor, I am
constantly struck by the fact that these people may only
perform slightly above average but achieve and are
compensated many multiples above normal.

I have a friend with whom I have consulted regularly for
five years. In a real estate market where the average
realtor sells one house a month, my friend averages closing
a little more than one house each day. He earns 30 times
what the average realtor would earn.

As much as I respect him, I would have to say he is not 30
times better, but he does exhibit a trait that I believe
makes his phenomenal success possible. My friend is
diligent. Diligence is the habit of performing normal tasks
in an extraordinary fashion.

I am a huge fan of baseball and, most particularly, the St.
Louis Cardinals. Those of you who live in other parts of
North America and around the world can no doubt substitute a
player on your team throughout this analogy.

One of my favorite players exhibits diligence every day in
the way he lives his life and in the way he plays baseball.

Even great baseball players fail to get on base more than
they succeed. Most often, batters are a victim of an infield
ground ball. These grounders are routinely and easily
scooped-up by the opposing team, resulting in an easy out at
first base.

My favorite player hits infield grounders just like everyone
else in the Major Leagues; however, he runs to first base
full speed with a 100% effort each time knowing that 99% of
the time he will be thrown out.

He also knows that once a year, one of the opposing
infielders will fail to cleanly pick up the ball and, due to
his extra effort, he will be safe on first base instead of
being the victim of a routine out.

If this only happens once a year, and once every five years
it results in winning a game the team would have otherwise
lost, in a 15 to 20 year career, winning four extra games
throughout the two decades will, once in his career, result
in the St. Louis Cardinals making the playoffs and winning
the World Series when they otherwise would not have done so.

Diligence comes into play because no one knows which of
these thousands of routine grounders is going to result in a
trip to the World Series. A champion plays like a champion
all the time. He never takes a day off or even an inning
off.

As you go through your day today, look for ways to do the
little things well, and you will find that the big things
take care of themselves.

Today’s the day!

by Jim Stovall