Training Camp by Jon Gordon

TLB 029 Training Camp by Jon Gordon

Wonder that the BEST do better than everyone else? You’ve come to the right place to find out. Jon Gordon’s “Training Camp, A Fable About Excellence” will clue you in to exactly what excellence looks like. Check out this episode of The Leaders Bookshelf…

Welcome to The Leaders Bookshelf. A weekly journey through today’s top business and personal development books, with your host Frank Gustafson. If you read to lead, welcome home. If you want to read to lead, you’re in the right place. Now, grab your reading glasses and a cup of hot coffee, and let’s get this show on the road.

Hey, Frank here with the Leaders Bookshelf. I just read another great book by the author John Gordon. It’s called Training Camp. You may remember in a past episode I did a book called the Energy Bus and then recently I did another one called One Word: The Word That Will Change Your Life Forever. John Gordon was a co-author in that book. I don’t know. I’m finding myself really getting in an area where I dig a few authors and I start reading their books. John Gordon is one of those. He’s got a couple other books out there that I desperately want to read too.

First of all, I enjoy the way John writes. He writes his stuff … His wisdom comes to you in the form of a story and the story teaches a life lesson. This book Training Camp is the same thing. It’s called Training Camp: A Fable About Excellence. Then the top of the book says, “What the best do better than everyone else.” This book goes through the journey of a football player who is at training camp. Does that mean that if you’re not into sports or if you’re not into football that you can’t enjoy this book and you can’t read the wisdom that John puts out here? No, absolutely not. I certainly believe that you can. It’s, again, a relatively short book, less than 150 pages. It’s a quick, easy read, and it is so motivational.

It really talks about what the best do to achieve excellence in their lives. One of the things that he goes through in here is the 11 traits of the best of the best. These are the traits that are revealed to this young guy, this football player, throughout the whole training camp experiences and then ending up in a culmination as to whether he makes the team or not. I’m not going to spoil the surprise. I’m not going to spoil the surprise on that. Some of the traits on that I really enjoyed here … There’s 11 of them. I’m not going to go through all of them.

Number one is the best know what they really want. Unless you know what you really want, how do you know how to get it? How do you know where to go? How do you know what to do in life unless you know what you really want out of life? I think that that is the starting point. You really have to decide what you want. Number two is the best one at war. I think that we’ve all seen that in our lives. The best of the best of the best in any given field, whether it’s in sports, whether it’s in music, whether it’s in any kind of profession, they just seem to want it more and they put that extra effort in there.

The best are always striving to get better. It is a matter of … I know that you hear about the 10,000 rule, the 10,000 hour rule, for excellence. I’ve heard people say it’s true. I’ve heard people say it’s been debunked. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is that the best are always striving to get better. No matter what it is they do, they’re always striving to improve and they’re seeking improvement on a daily basis. That’s what I do here for the Leaders Bookshelf. I am constantly reading books. I am constantly learning. I’m constantly taking that input to try to make myself better so that in my coaching profession I can help other people get better … Help other people achieve whatever it is that they want to achieve.

What are the traits? Number four is that the best do ordinary things better than everybody else. That’s the cool thing. I think that people think that to succeed in life and to achieve something great in life, that you’ve got to have some superpower. You’ve got to be exceptional at these great and magnanimous things. The fact of the matter is that that the best of the best do the little things, the ordinary things, better than anybody else. It has a lot to do with just doing them, just fricken doing them, and not focusing on all of these great and huge things, but take care of the ordinary tasks and do them better than anybody else. In successful [inaudible 00:05:10] it’s unbelievable.

The best of the best are mentally stronger. That means that you have to be able to accept defeat. That means you have to be able to understand that when you stick your head above the crows, you’re going to catch some tomatoes. That’s all there is to it. Critics are going to come. If you’re not doing anything great in life, nobody is going to criticize you because you’re in the middle of the road. One of the terms that I like is cream of the crap. I’m not calling you cream of the crap, all right? Don’t get all upset. But you know what? If you don’t like what I say and you want to criticize me, that’s okay because I don’t say anything that I don’t truly believe. I know that for me to be the best of the best of the best at what I do, then I’m going to have to put my head above the crowd. I’m going to have to put myself out there. I’m going to have to put … I’m going to have to go that extra step. It sets you up for some criticism and that’s okay, but the best of the best are mentally stronger. You can just take that stuff and you understand that that’s just part of the course.

The best overcome fear. False evidence appearing real, fear. I’m going to a Zig Ziglar class here in the next week, and I know that Zig talked a lot about overcoming fear and the fact that fear holds most people back. If you want to be the best of the best, you can’t let fear hold you back. I’m just going to hit you with two more. Number ten, which is the best leave a legacy. I love what John Maxwell talks about. Without a successor, this is no success. If you think you’re doing great, then look at the people behind you and see how they’re doing. Look at the people that you’re nurturing and you’re bringing along and whatever it is that you do. If there is some success following you, if there’s some success back there or if there’s success in the last job that you left to take the one that you’re in now … If there’s success there, then you’ve been a successful leader because you’ve left a successor. You’ve set somebody else up for success, but the best of the best always leave a legacy.

The last one is the best of the best make everyone around them better. I think that that is so critical. Whether you’re a leader or whether you’re not a leader or if you’re a leader wannabee, you’ve got to always lift people up and make people around you better. People have to get better at whatever it is they’re doing or why do they want to be around you? A lot of these traits are talked about here in John Gordon’s book, the Training Camp. I love the book. I think you ought to read the book. If you want to read the book, read it. If you like it, let me know. If you don’t like it, let me know. I’m a big boy. You know what? What did I say? The best of the best are mentally stronger. I’m mentally strong enough if you don’t like one of the books that I read, then if you want to say something then say something. I’m here for that. If you like the book, say something there as well. I think it’s a great book. I highly encourage you to read it. Go out there and grab yourself a copy of Training Camp by John Gordon. Hey, keep turning those pages and I’ll see you all on the next episode.

Hey, thanks again for stopping by The Leaders Bookshelf. I would love to get your feedback on this show. If there’s anything that you’d like to say with regard to a specific episode of the show in general, or if you have book recommendations, I’m always open to those. Just stop by Thanks a lot, and have a great day.