I recently found myself on the terrace of a magnificent home here in Nashville, standing out in the cold with the owner under a space heater shaped like some sort of metal tree.
I happened to know that he is the founder and owner of a reputable mortgage brokerage here in town. Not only that, he owns a home that has a legitimate terrace, and is literally about ten times the size of my own house. So I had to ask:
“Tell me, Mr. Successful Guy, what is one key habit that has contributed to your success?”
He said, “Be consistently persistent. I tell my team all the time: keep chopping wood.”
He then relayed the following story:
About a decade ago, Jack Del Rio was at the helm of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He placed a very large tree stump out by the practice field and laid an ax beside it.
Jack expected each player to do simply their job, whatever it was, at 100% effort each day. Then, at the end of practice, if they could honestly tell themselves, “I gave 100% effort today,” they could take a swing at the stump. He told his team that none of them could split the log on their own, but if they all give 100% each day, then they could spilt the log in two. It had to be a team effort, and it had to be consistent effort, day in and day out.
Later on in the season, the Jags found themselves losing at halftime to an opponent whom they should have been handling with ease. Jack walked into the locker room and simply said, “Some of you guys weren’t chopping wood out there. You keep chopping wood, and you’ll win this game.”
It was so simple. Do your job. Do the task that has been assigned to you, take ownership of it, do it to the best of your ability.
The Jags came back and won.
I stood on the terrace of a $3 million mansion and asked the owner how to be successful, and his answer wasn’t a silver bullet. It wasn’t an earth-shattering revelation, reserved for the elite.
It was a simple, unalterable recipe for greatness: be persistently consistent. Do the right things, the most important things, without fail, over a long period of time. No one swing of the ax will split the stump in two. That happens over time.
In his fantastic book, The One Thing, Gary Keller talks about identifying the one or two most important tasks—those tasks that reap far and away the greatest rewards for the time invested—and committing to those tasks at the expense of all else.
Akin to Gary’s philosophy, Jack Del Rio beseeched his team to do their one assignment—run a route, block a linebacker, catch the ball, go through your progressions—consistently and consistently well.
Do that, and the results will take care of themselves.
And so I encourage you: commit to your most important tasks, do them consistently, and do them well. Let the results take care of themselves.
Keep chopping wood.
Brian Bandas spent a decade playing music professionally in Nashville, including forming the Billboard-topping band Love and Theft, and touring with Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw among many others. He now leads a team of top-producing real estate agents, as well as coaching both agents and entrepreneurs on leadership and effective communication. He also pours his heart and soul into his marriage to a “smart hot chick,” and into training up his two sons who are far cooler than he’ll ever be. Check out his blog, the #TakeAction video series, and more at www.brianbandas.com.