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Beating the Odds

Excellence from the Mundane

Remember the other day, when chef Thomas Keller was saying that the steps in cooking are not particularly difficult?

Well, today we have legendary soccer coach Anson Dorrance saying the same thing in a different way.

Dorrance, whose team plays in the NCAA quarterfinals today in pursuit of the program’s 21st national championship, discusses excellence this way:

“Excellence is accomplished through deliberate actions, ordinary in themselves, performed consistently and carefully, made into habits, compounded together, added up over time. Since it is mundane, it is within reach of everyone, all the time.”

The quote is an excerpt from the book “Vision of a Champion,” by Dorrance and Gloria Averbuch, and featured on the Champion Coaches Network.

Each of the steps Dorrance describes is a key, but today I want to focus on “performed consistently and carefully.” He says that the ordinary steps must be done “with high standards and consummate focus.”

Whether you’re designing a practice or giving feedback to a player, you are constantly deciding what your standards are going to be. And only you determine how much focus you bring to any one activity.

So whether you’re making a gourmet meal or assembling a soccer team, there are no secrets. The steps are simple. The difference between a masterpiece and the ordinary is your frame of mind as you go through the steps.


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