Saturday, April 29, 2006

Better BBQ: Day #10 in the Series

I'd like to share some principles today that have not only helped me improve my bbq competition efforts, but that have affected my life in general the past several years.

I think there is a tendency these days to desire a "quick fix", a "magic potion", or even a "trick" that will allow us to take short cuts to obtain the results we desire. In extreme cases, depending on the root of the desire, there are those that may even consider bending the rules or even out right cheating to gain a competitive advantage.

Several years ago while waiting in the Nashville, Tennessee airport for a plane taking me to Baltimore, Maryland for a new position with my company, I purchased a book authored by Rick Pitino, currently a coach at the University of Louisville and previously a coach for the University of Kentucky and the NBA's Boston Celtics. The book is titled, Success is a Choice -- Ten Steps to Overachieving in Business and in Life and is a real "unsung" hero in the world of motivational business books in my opinion.

If you're looking for insight that will help you prepare for bbq competitions, reading this book would be a good start to get a "leg up" on the competition. This book discusses the principles that Rick Pitino has used to be a winner at virtually every level of basketball competition. I'm convinced these same principles will help you become a better bbq contest competitor.

I've been a competitive person starting at a young age and played baseball, basketball, participated in the cross-country and track field, sang in the school choir, and played in the band. The book is not so much a book about sports as it's a book about life. Although there are parallels drawn to sports relating stories and people that have played basketball for or with Rick Pitino throughout his career, there are other parallels drawn to the general day-to-day things like being a good student, a team player, a good employee, and a good manager.

Principles discussed in Rick Pitino's excellent book that he attributes to his success in business, on the basketball court and in life:

Build Your Self-Esteem

Set Demanding Goals

Always Be Positive

Establish Good Habits

Master the Art of Communication

Learn from Good Role Models

Thrive on Pressure

Be Ferociously Persistent

Learn from Adversity

Survive Your Own Success

I urge you to read this book. I think you'll be surprised at the thought provoking basic message that emanates from its pages.

One of my favorite parts of the book are the pages Pitino devotes to a story about Billy Donovan, a former University of Kentucky player and currently renowned basketball coach at the University of Florida. This average player has become one of the tip-top coaches in NCAA basketball by following the Pitino principles. Donovan wasn't the fastest, the tallest, able to jump the highest, or even score the most points, however, true to Pitino's teachings Donovan learned to make the most of what skills he did have. In a few years an average basketball player became a good player and a good player has become a great coach.

In the words of renowned economist, Milton Friedman, "There is no free lunch," and that goes for basketball, for bbq, for work, for family, and for life in general.

You must make a choice to succeed by working hard, being honest with yourself and being persistent.

To read the previous article in this series click here

Other books by Rick Pitino

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