Startup Life as a Pro Athlete

My Insights on the Daily Practice of Self-Improvement Habits Over Result Seeking Evaluations

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“The second we stop growing, we start dying. Stagnation easily morphs into laziness, and once a person stops trying to grow and improve, he or she is nothing more than mediocre… Those who are most successful evaluate themselves daily. Daily evaluation is the key to daily success, and daily success is the key to success in life.” — Jason Selk, Director of Mental Training, St. Louis Cardinals

Our bodies, our minds, our souls, if we aren’t growing, if we aren’t evaluating our process, our daily habits, are we, in fact, deteriorating?

I failed all the time early on in my basketball career.

Yet, I went on and played pro and division one college hoops for 18 years. To have success or get to the highest levels of the game, you need to put in the daily work, but there is a balance between always looking for daily results and just finding and enjoying the process of chopping wood.

In the pros, I was always in competition with myself, in evaluation of my workouts, my lifting routines, my conditioning and fitness, my team’s effort levels, my decisions in a game, and so on and so on.

But that isn’t what got me to the pros. What got me to the pros was showing up and building the habit of training, playing, and loving the process.

If you don’t love the process, there is no next stage for you.

Next season is always coming (so is winter). Maybe that is why I struggle with startup life. I don’t get that rush of adrenaline, or feeling of direct competition every day. I’m still learning the process, and I don’t want to get caught up measuring every little thing.

I want to enjoy it first.

How does one make or measure progress every day in startup life? What does it feel like, look like, and how does it compare to pro sports?

If you can’t have the highest standard of daily habits in the areas you want to win in, are you even supposed to start worrying about evaluating your performance or look at results?

It’s like the comedian that wants an agent, but isn’t funny. Dude, practice being funny over and over and over, before you worry about getting your head shots and making money.

The salesperson that doesn’t make any phone calls shouldn’t be worried about money either.

The single guy that doesn’t ask anyone on dates, yet alone start up any conversations, shouldn’t be looking at results.

The moms and dads that don’t reward effort, but only success, shouldn’t wonder why their kids have self-esteem issues when they go to college with all the other smart kids.

My belief is that we should first build the highest standards of habits before we start to evaluate our performance. Focus on the flow. The fun. The zone. Measure the days you do the habits, not the results those habits bring you.

This habit idea goes for being a:

Lover.

Partner.

Startup CEO.

Comedian.

Athlete.

Businessman/woman.

Salesperson.

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habits

You get the gist.

In reality, we should never stop growing, learning, and re-purposing our lives as we transition and change and figure out who and what our habits are doing for us day in and day out.

That means practicing self-improvement habits that we can measure across the domains we are interested in. Like a good polymath, we must be able to test ourselves and see improvement.

I do a daily minimalistic self-improvement habit journal to practice habits, not results.

Do not let anything interrupt those tasks that are most critical for growth in the important areas of your life. Find a way, no matter what, to prioritize your daily process goals, even when you have a viable excuse to justify not doing it.” — Jason Selk

Like a painter, just focus on the habit of making strokes of creativity every day.

Try some of my favorite self-improvement habit practices (for shits and giggles):

Try breathing slowly for 5 minutes a day and counting down your inhale and exhale.

Run or walk on an incline of 12% for 1 min on/1 min off for 20 minutes a day.

Try limiting and counting your sugar intake and not going over 20–30 grams of sugar a day.

Try writing and planning your to-do list every night before you go to bed and visualize what your morning will look like with more happiness and laughter.

Mark your hand with a circle every day you get your 30 minutes of learning done.

Check in on Facebook with my fitness community and make sure I’ve invited everyone to Like our Page.

Greatness will not magically appear in your life without significant accountability, focus, and optimism on your part. Are you ready to commit fully to turning your potential into a leadership performance that will propel you to greatness? — Jason Selk

So get in the habit of habit building. You will know when the time comes to measure your results more often.

Good luck! Follow more self-improvement, life mastery, and habit stories with me here.

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“Do it or don’t do it.”

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