It's What You Do After You're Tired...

During a recent session with my trainer, I had a new thought… Before I share it, let me tell you a little about Vince. He’s the one on the right in the photo below. Vince is not just a trainer - he’s a philosopher, a life coach, an accountability partner and a friend. A great combination if you can find all these attributes in one individual! I’m extremely thankful for his influence in my life – well beyond my physical fitness. Back to my revelation…

For any of you who’ve worked with a trainer or a coach in the weight room, you've probably noticed a painful pattern – they always make you do a few more reps than you think you can. As Vince and I have discussed, that’s where much of the gain is to be found – after you think you’re finished, after you and your muscles are tired.

As I’ve continued to think about this, I believe there’s a principle that can be applied outside the gym. I think there’s implication for my life and my leadership. I don’t think character or mastery are forged in warm-ups. 

It is in the extra effort where you often find the greatest value.

Here are a few examples in which the real value may lie just past where we’re tempted to stop…

When you’re giving feedback to someone. Do you stop at 90%? Is the information that would be most helpful to them in that uncomfortable last 10%? Don’t stop short.
When you’re preparing a presentation. What would happen if you did one more rehearsal before you stood to give your presentation? Don’t stop too soon.
When you’re preparing an important document or report. Should you read it one more time? Is that when you’ll be able to find that last typo or polish the language just a little more? One more read could be the difference between good and great.
When you reach the end of your day and have one important thing left to do. Should you stay a little late and get it done? Or, perhaps get up an hour early the next morning to do it before your new day officially begins.
When you’re not sure about a candidate. What could you learn in one more interview? Maybe you need to ask for five more references and call them. Extra effort now may save tremendous pain later.
When someone asks you to do something for them. How can you add value beyond what was requested?  How can you do what they’ve asked for and more?
In all these examples, quitting could certainly be justified. The same could have been said this morning when Vince made me do one more set. I’m glad he didn’t let me stop short – I’m stronger for it. If you and I develop the habit of going just beyond our comfort zone, we’ll be stronger leaders for it.[GLS_Shield]
Find a time this week to do a little more… even if you’re tired. That’s what leaders do!

Leave a comment

6 + 3 =


10 years ago

How do you find the balance? I once had an associate who was so much a perfectionist that he would use X amount of time to get the project to 95%, then use X amount again to get another 2 or 3% closer to perfect. Often his time would have been better used to invest that second X time in some other task.... Wisdom demands we know when 95% is a good return for the time invested and move on.


10 years ago

Thanks for your question, Craig! That's where judgment comes in to play. Sometimes we'll have to help people know when something is good enough. As Seth Godin says, "You have to ship." However, I would rather have the problem you described than to have people who didn't want to make it perfect. Over my career, I'm guessing I've invested much more time trying to get people to raise the standard vs. having to get them to lighten up. Both are certainly time consuming, but in a culture of excellence, you're bound to get the behavior you described form time to time. One tactical way to combat perfectionism: establish real deadlines. Tell people when something is due and stick to it. This may help get work finished. Thanks for joining the conversation! Mark

Timothy Barnes

10 years ago

Thanks for the great reminder. I've been recovering from Achilles Tendon surgery and have found this principle so true. The strength is coming back as I push myself a little more each day....a little beyond what I think I have to give. It's made a difference.


10 years ago

Thanks, Tim for sharing your experience. How's the rehab going? Mark

J.D. Meier

10 years ago

> they always make you do a few more reps than you think you can
There's always something inspiring about people that help us go past our self-imposed limits and find our breakthroughs.

My great Wordpress blog | Just another WordPress site | What’s on Your Personal Scorecard?

9 years ago

[…] annual plan. However, I heard a new idea this week. I was talking to Vince; I wrote about him on Monday. His son Gabriel is at West Point. Gabriel’s scorecard at the Academy has three elements: […]


Copyright © 2023 INTEGREAT Leadership
All rights reserved.