Keeping Score

I was recently invited to join a Saturday morning golf league. I’ve never been asked to join this type of very unique league before. What made it so unique was that they don’t keep score. Apparently not keeping score is supposed to make the game more fun. 

I know there will be people who disagree with this but I see no point to playing golf…or any sport if you’re not going to keep score. I kind of understand the people who say that very young kids should be allowed to play sports without the “pressure” of keeping score but I’m not entirely bought into the idea. 

But for adults I believe keeping score in most areas of life is essential. 

Professional sales people who don’t know their percentage of wins vs opportunities have no way of truly knowing if their approaches are effective. Companies who don’t track their market share have no idea if they are gaining or losing customers. Retailers who do not track the amount of customers entering their establishments have no clue if their marketing and advertising is working. 

The “score” is simply a reference point on your journey to ultimate success. If you don’t track what actions and tactics are working for you then you’re very likely to get lost on that journey. 

How often do you stop to check your personal success score? Do you invest time to reflect on what’s working in your life? What’s not working? 

Most everyone I talk to claims to want a better tomorrow. They seek improvement in many areas of their life. But many of them want the improvement to come without making any changes. They want to do the same thing today as they did yesterday but they want a better result. That is not very likely to happen. 

Improvement doesn’t come from making changes. Improvement comes from making the right changes and the only way to know what changes will be the right ones is to keep score. 

The “score” is your result. Measuring results informs our decisions on what we need to change in order to have that better result we seek.

One more point, when you keep score make sure you’re being honest with yourself about what’s working and what’s not. Accepting responsibility for your actions or inactions is step one on the road to improvement. 

Denial might get you down that river in Egypt but it won’t get you far on the road to success.

So…do you know your score?

I HAVE to add this very last point. Keeping score in relationships is a losing game. It’s a losing game because believing you can “win” an argument with someone is a fool’s errand. The sooner you realize that fact the sooner your relationships in life will begin to improve. Sorry for kinda tacking that on to the end of this post but I felt it had to be said. 

All Progress is Progress

Have you ever set a goal and immediately been overwhelmed with the enormity of it? Have you ever been assigned a task at work and were instantly overcome with the feeling of complete paralysis because you had no idea where to start? 

 

Are you a chronic procrastinator or have you convinced yourself you perform better under pressure? 

 

If any of that sounds like you then I have some advice for you. It is something that all successful people know and it is how they work their way past the challenges associated with achieving success. 

 

The advice is to remember that all progress is progress. Even little steps move you forward. Even small accomplishments move you closer to an ultimate goal. You do not need major progress at every turn. Slow steady progress often achieves success faster than the backward movement that can follow rapid progress. 

 

A few small steps forward are almost always better than two steps forward and one step back. Any movement closer to an objective or goal is progress. All progress is worthy of celebration, albeit the smaller the progress the smaller the celebration. 

 

Some of the very best advice I’ve ever received was that when you  don’t know what to do just do the next right thing. No matter how small that next right thing is you will end up closer to your goal. 

 

You’ll find it easier, notice I didn’t say easy, to consistently make progress if you have a coach or mentor to help you stay motivated. A good mentor can talk you down from the cliff of self-doubt that everyone finds themselves on from time to time. 

 

Sometimes small amounts of progress can be hard to see. Be sure to keep track of where you started. Keep track of where you were last month or last week so you can see your forward movement. Nothing will kill your future motivation faster than thinking you received nothing from your past efforts. 

 

Keep yourself fresh by trying something new once in a while. The most successful people will get rid of something that works if there is a chance to replace it with something that works even better. You never know if you can do something better until you try doing it differently. 

 

Whatever you do you must do something. You must keep moving…even if you’re on the right track you will eventually get run over if you just sit there. All progress is progress. Forward, sideways and sometimes even backwards progress is better than no progress at all. 

 

You don’t need to know how the final chapter of a book ends before you begin reading it. You also don’t need to know exactly how you will complete a task or achieve a goal before you start working towards it. 

 

Make progress each day and the end result will come into focus along the way. All those little bits of progress will lead you to one giant success once you realize that indeed, all progress is progress! 

Do the Right Thing

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is this: when you don’t know what to do just do the next right thing. 

It might be a small thing, it might not get you far and it might seem like it doesn’t matter. But it does!

Doing the right thing, however small very often leads directly to doing the next right thing and a few “right things” in a row can add up to something very good, very very good.

Even when we can’t see the big picture, even when we don’t know exactly what to do, we can almost almost find some little “right thing” and that’s the thing to do. It’s called progress; sometimes we make progress in big steps and sometimes in small steps but this much is clear; successful people are almost always making some sort of progress.

If you truly don’t know what the next right thing is then ask. This is where having a mentor in your life can make a huge difference. Ask your mentor for their opinion on the next right thing. 

You need, yes NEED, a mentor who cares enough about you to be honest. Your mentor should have no ulterior motive for helping you. The best mentors help people because for them, it’s the next right thing to do.

If you don’t have a mentor then ask someone who you trust, someone you see as successful, someone who you see yourself becoming, to be your mentor today.

I know that doing the next right thing sounds very simplistic but all too often it is anything but easy. Doing the right thing can be very hard, especially when compared to doing the easy thing. 

The easy way seldom brings any real value into your life but the right thing almost always does. Doing the right thing is always better then doing nothing and it is way better than doing the wrong thing. 

Do the next right thing, do it for the right reasons and you’ll soon discover that you can never go wrong by doing right.