Thoughts + Articles

Don’t Cheat the Work!

Many people think that when professional athletes “make it”, they lose some of their hunger and drive. When they are considered one of the greatest of all time in their sport…who could blame them for coasting? They have the fame, the glory, and the contract. 

Koby Bryant is widely considered to be one of the greatest athletes of all time. He has earned 5 NBA championships, played in 18 all-star games, and even won an Oscar. His victories were not won on the court during the game as much as they were forged in his mind and his relentless dedication to becoming an elite athlete. 

While natural born abilities play a role in someone’s success, Kobe’s motto was “Hard work outweighs talent, every time.” (He was known for beginning his workouts at 4 am…not only early in his career, but throughout his entire career.  

What does it take to be the very best athlete and leader?

Koby Bryant’s speech in 2016 at an awards ceremony, was addressed to all athletes. He said, “we are not on this stage just because of talent or ability. We’re up here because of 4am. We’re up here at 2am or 5 am. We’re up here because we had a dream and let nothing stand in our way.” We’re up here because we had a dream and let nothing stand in our way. If anything tried to bring us down , we used it to make us stronger. We were never satisfied, never finished. We will never be retired.”

What are the questions you need to ask yourself?

What is your dream or goal?

What are the steps “you” have to take to get there?

How to become your best self!

What are you passionate about?

(Purpose and meaning: Passion and purpose)

Once you know what your dream or goal is you have to follow the necessary steps to obtain it!

Model yourself on the great ones!

Persevere no matter what your obstacles are!

What do you have to do to be excellent or elite?

Darren Hardy said, Bryant’s Message was:” No matter how talented you are, you can’t cheat the work.” “Bryant was an obsessive athlete. He’d work out at 4am. He trained three times as much or more than others. “He had a ruthlessly competitive mindset. He was the perfect example of what happens when elite talent and work ethic come together.”

Darren Hardy: “The lesson here is how to “become your best self and whatever your craft, you can’t cheat the work. There is a process to becoming great at anything. It requires time, attention, and discipline. It demands unreasonable commitment. It’s not for the Nandi Pandey or the faint at heart. There is no shortcut to the top of a mountain. What does it mean to not cheat the work and how do you ensure that you don’t?” 

A few thoughts:

“No.1 The Choice”

We build a life by the choices we make!

What do you have to do to be excellent or elite? Raise the bar on leadership!

” Alabama Coach Nick Saban talked about the five choices you have in life.  1)You know, we can be bad at what we do.

2)We can be average at what we do.

3) We can be good at what we do, which probably is God’s expectation for whatever ability he gives us.

4)  Or we can be excellent or

5)  we can be elite. “

“It doesn’t matter what God given ability you have, that probably will make you good. But without the rest of it I’m not sure you ever get excellent or elite.”

1)“If you want to be excellent or elite, you have to do special things. 

You have to have special intensity, focus, commitment, drive, and passion to do the things at a high level and a high standard all the time.

No matter what God given ability you have, that can probably make you good, but without the rest of it, you’ll never get to be excellent or elite.”

2) “Never done. Always better.”

Georgia Football Coach Smart’s Challenge:

“A Coach Saban protégée has won back to back Championships at UGA. He knows the Bulldog’s biggest opponent in 2023 wouldn’t be another team; it would be entitlement the next morning after winning the second consecutive national championship.”

Coach Kirby Smart said “Start thinking about the next one. I do think it’s going to be much tougher. And I think we’ll have to reinvent ourselves next year because you can’t just stay the same.”

 “The disease that creeps into your program is called entitlement. It is why great organizations fail.”

When Leadership Fails:

 Darren Hardy says, “88% of Fortune 500 companies in 1955 are no longer around. They are no longer in business or have been acquired. 88% in recent history.”

Why does leadership Fail?

“Entitlement destroys them. Complacency is the enemy. Numerous examples of great companies have gone bankrupt. Blockbuster, Polaroid, Borders, Kodak, Circuit City, Radio Shack, Toys R Us, Lehman Brothers, Compaq, Arthur Anderson, and many others.

All of them reached championship level of success but then eventually failed.”

Challenge to Leaders:

Coach Smart challenged his players:

1)    “Stay hungry, stay humble, always improve, never above the work, no entitlement.”

“His message to his team was simple and powerful.” 

  “We stay hungry, we stay humble. We can always improve. We’re never above doing the work, we’re never entitled to success. Human nature assumes success will continue, but that’s not the case. Everything must be earned all the time. Once you make a choice to do the work required to be successful , you must have the humility to know nothing is ever owned or guaranteed.”

What are a few areas in your life that you are constantly hungry to improve? Is it your physical condition or energy? Is it your finances? Is it being the best spouse and/or parent you can be?

No. 2 Consistency

This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s what separates the good from the great and the great from the elite. The invisible thread binds all high performers in sports , business, or any endeavor in life. It is the one thing that can’t be compromised. Koby Bryant knew this all along. Imagine shooting 1000 free throws a day rain or shine. Imagine hitting the gym at 4am while the rest of the world sleeps. Imagine studying game films late into the night to better understand your opponent’s tactics. That’s consistency. It’s doing what needs to be done day in day out regardless of how you feel, how many championships you’ve already won.

 It is not about motivation, it’s about discipline.

Koby Bryant understood the power of consistency! He understood that small seemingly insignificant choices made over time lead to a significant difference in one’s performance.

Let’s take an example from the business world. Let’s say you commit to making 5 extra calls each day. On its own it doesn’t seem like much. Do the math. That’s 25 extra calls a week, a 100 a month, and 1200 a year. Imagine how those extra calls can impact your business over a year or 5 years. It’s a game changer. But it all starts with a Choice to be Consistent.

Darren Hardy says, “Consistency isn’t glamorous, it doesn’t make headlines, but it is the backbone of success. It’s the secret sauce that all high performers understand and apply. They don’t seek the quick fix or the shortcut. They understand that success is a marathon, not a sprint. And the only way to get to the finish line is to keep putting one foot in front of the other consistently. Remember it is not about being perfect; it’s about being consistent. It’s about showing up day after day, doing the work, whether you feel like it or not because that’s what champions do.”

He continues, “They don’t let their feelings dictate their actions. They let their commitment to their goals dictate their actions. They remain consistent. And that, is the true essence of the Mamba mentality. Mamba mind set.”

Darren Hardy says,  “If you take nothing else away from this . No matter how good you are, no matter how talented you are, no matter how much you have achieved, you can’t cheat the work in sports, in business and in life. “Nothing is guaranteed. Consistency- Doing what needs to be done. Stay consistent. Don’t cheat the work!”

“Everything must be earned all the time.”  

What have you done in your life (or are doing currently) that involves tedious work and dedication? You may not see immediate results, but you are building the foundation for the results. A skyscraper is not erected 6 hours after the footings were poured. They have to cure to build up the strength necessary to support the structure. Timing is crucial as well as drive. Sometimes the most effective skill you need to possess is patience. 

In whatever work you do whether it is being an athlete, leader, teacher, doctor, scientist, sales person…the right choices must be made. The discipline and work ethic must be in place to follow the steps in your success plan. You can’t cheat the work and the steps to get there!

Madeline Frank, Ph.D., is an Best Selling Author, speaker, business owner, teacher, concert artist, and parent. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Business”. Her observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful. Her latest book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available everywhere books are sold. If you need a speaker or virtual speaker contact Madeline at:

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2024 at 5:12 pm and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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