Goals Create Motivation – Action Creates Progress

The small things we focus on can deliver the big things we dream about. This is the very point University of Dayton Head Basketball Coach Archie Miller made during an interview with Mike Hartsock of WHIO TV.

Hartsock: Do you still take your guys back to last year? “O.K. guys, remember what we had last year, what we went through last year?”

Coach Miller:  I think more so the path that we took, how we handled the path, not so much where the end result got, but… how much better did we get from February 22nd to March 15th… It’s finding a way to get your team to stay in the moment, of talking about, “Hey look! This was the path we were on. This is where we were a year ago men…think about how far we went; we can do it, too!”… Not so much about, “Do you want to do this again, do you want to do that again? Remember the little things that got us there.

– Archie Miller, Head Coach of Dayton Flyers Men’s Basketball Program; Broadcast, 3/1/2015

People are motivated by big dreams and goals if they believe the goals are possible for them. That’s a good start. But having inspiring goals is not enough. Goals are the measurable parts of a dream. Dreams become real from the execution of the right, moment-by-moment actions. Too much attention on the dream can distract us from doing the actions that produce the outcomes we expect.

Successful people know how to leverage the motivation of a dream to create the actions that get results. People who feel the high of an inspiring dream and consistently fail to take the necessary actions are adrenalin junkies.  From this interview, I conclude that Coach Miller understands this principle and leads his team accordingly.

 “The small things we focus on
can deliver the big things we dream about.”
— Clancy Cross

Good luck to the Dayton Flyers, Men and Women, in their upcoming tournaments!

Small Things Still Matter

While reading another chapter in Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life” I was reminded that it’s the small things that matter most.  I’m not sure if it’s ADD or the consequences of a culture that bombards us with advice to look for big opportunities, dream big, and shoot for the moon, but this is a lesson I have to constantly rediscover.  While big thoughts and dreams are not inherently wrong, thinking totally on the big stuff is self-limiting.  Big and small are both important and here’s why.

  • Reality – Life is made up of an unimaginable number of small matters.  If we miss the small, we miss life itself.
  • Process – Big outcomes are the sum total of small achievements.  Whether or not we do something big depends on what we do, one small step at a time.
  • Perspective – Without small things, big things would seem small.  What is big is big only by comparison.  Small things create perspective.
  • Preparation – Small things prepare us for big things.  Mastery of small skills leads to mastery of great capabilities.
  • Trust – Being faithful with little matters is evidence that we can be trusted with larger ones.  Conversely, if we are untrustworthy about the small, why would anyone trust us with something huge?
  • Significance – Small things make a bigger impact than we realize.  How we perform with small matters shows how much or how little we care.  Being intentional and  consistent about doing the small things is better evidence that we care than a one-time big act.

Meaning Trumps Magnitude

You might be surprised that it was Warren’s chapter entitled, “Planned for God’s Pleasure” that inspired these thoughts.  I certainly was.  I think it was his examples of the different acts of worship, which include serving others, and how these seemingly routine and minor acts can be pleasing to God.  I realized that if we treat these small behaviors with the reverence they deserve, God will find favor with us.  And if these so-called “small things” are significant to God, shouldn’t they be to us as well?  Yes, small things do matter!