“Coasting Only Happens Downhill.”
As Mike Rayburn spoke these words from the main stage at the National Speakers Association Convention a few years ago, they hit me like a ton of bricks! How very true. Coasting does only happen downhill.
While it can be fun, and even necessary, to coast for a while and appreciate all the work you’ve done, there comes a time when you must top yourself. Otherwise, you keep heading down while those around you (your competition) keep reaching new levels of success.
The National Speakers Association is an organization of my peers and I am a proud, active, professional member. Each year, I eagerly await the annual convention, both for the education I receive and the reunion with friends. It’s not unusual to walk away excited and pumped up for another year.
That particular year, however, the bar was raised! When we thought the convention couldn’t get any better, it did – blowing members and guests alike at every turn. Highlights for me included watching Jason Hewlett, a speaker/impressionist that has a gift only the Big Guy above could have given him. Do yourself a favor watch the videos on his website. Another was Mike’s presentation. Understand this. Mike is a guitar virtuoso. Anyone who knows him knew to expect a stellar performance. Yet – he still surprised us. We sat stunned as Mike embraced his self-proclaimed fear of technology and played Beethoven’s 5th on the guitar as a duet with himself…..as a hologram!!
Trust me, Mike is already amazing. Mike can coast if he wants. He chose instead to challenge himself; to keep reaching new heights; and as a result, the experience he created for us – his audience – was epic!
Which brings me to you. Perhaps it’s time for you to stop coasting on your successes as well. Instead you could:
Learn Something New: We only grow when we allow ourselves to be uncomfortable. If we only do things we absolutely know how to do well, we become static, bored and well, boring. Pick up a book you wouldn’t normally read. Take a class that’s always intrigued you. Practice a new and challenging piece of music. Get out of your comfort zone and expand those horizons.
Set and Achieve New Goals: There’s always a new level of possibility worth reaching. Perhaps there’s a place you’ve always wanted to visit, or an experience you’ve always wanted to have. Break your big goal into little milestones and start chipping away at it now. Stop coasting and start accomplishing.
Revisit Relationships: I’ve personally been blessed with a pretty terrific marriage. However, when I came home and repeated Mike’s words – “Coasting Only Happens Downhill” – to Jim, he and I both took heart. We have been so content that we’d stopped some of the fundamental practices that made our marriage work in the first place. The very next day we re-instituted weekly family meetings to discuss finances, health, and other related matters. No more coasting for us. Where are you coasting in your relationships? Perhaps it’s time to start walking uphill together again.
Communicate Consistently: If there is one common denominator that all our clients have when we begin our work with them, it’s that workplace communication needs to be improved. It’s time to stop coasting; stop complaining and start communicating. Establish (or re-establish) 15-minute stand-up meetings so everyone knows what’s going on for the day. Resolve to communicate in 3 different ways to ensure the message is received. Perhaps it’s time to get more creative with your communications so they stand out among the noise. Say no to coasting, and yes to communicating.
Revive Service Levels: Maybe you already give an amazing red-carpet service experience to your customers. Or, maybe you’re coasting on this assumption. There’s always another level of service or consistency or WOW that can be achieved. Is it time to regenerate some excitement around service delivery in your organization?
In what other areas might you be coasting? Ask yourself:
- Do I regularly let the people in my personal and professional lives know that they are appreciated?
- Do I strive to become the expert in my profession and take advantage of opportunities to learn?
- Do I stay in the comfort of my office, or do I walk out on the floor to see what’s happening with my team and my customers?
- Do I work to hire team members that are the perfect fit for our organization, or do I coast by hiring for numbers?
- Do we (as a team) provide an exceptional orientation and onboarding program for new team members – or are we coasting on the one we have?
This list can be as long as the ideas you have. What hits you in the gut – both personally and professionally – when you read Mike’s words?
“Coasting Only Happens Downhill”
If you’re like me, watching Virtuosos like Mike Rayburn and Jason Hewlett inspires you to strive for greatness. Sometimes we get so busy in our day to day minutia that we don’t even realize we’re coasting on the things that matter most.
Celebrate successes and then ask “How Do We Top It?” There’s always a way.
Donna Cutting, CSP is the Founder and CEO of Red-Carpet Learning Systems, Inc., a team of customer service experts that help professionals engage their team to deliver a world-class service experience. She’s the author of “The Celebrity Experience: Insider Secrets to Delivering Red-Carpet Customer Service” and 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers. Follow Donna on Twitter at @donnacutting; on the Red-Carpet Learning Systems Facebook Page; and at www.RedCarpetLearning.com. She can be reached at Donna@RedCarpetLearning.com.