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The Little Things in Life

Whether in work, in life, or even sports, the ‘big picture’ can sometimes be overwhelming. A complex project with a looming deadline, a fixer upper in need of an overhaul, the championship ring. What’s the secret to achieving success? Why do some people consistently do well, while others seem to stumble? How do you win, and win consistently?

Dozens of articles have been written about current University of Alabama head football coach, Nick Saban. Saban was declared “The Most Powerful Coach in Sports” by Forbes Magazine and became the first coach in college football history to win a national championship with two different football bowl subdivision schools. His eight year , $32 million contract makes him one of the highest paid football coaches, professional or collegiate, in the United States and his record of 191–60–1, solidifies his work as perhaps the most dominant figure in college football history. It’s fair to say that Nick Saban has achieved professional success. So what got him here? What’s his secret?

Bullseye final

His philosophy, borrowed from psychiatry professor, Lionel Rosen, is simple, almost primitive… “Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.”

Rosen’s thought is that sports- in this example football- are complex. There are too many plays, too many players, too many distractions and variables, for anyone to be able to focus on over the course of time. While we might think we can dot every “i” and cross every “t”, the fact is our brains only have so much capacity. So when we are on overload, overwhelmed by the enormity of the end goal, things get missed. Details are overlooked, and work suffers.

While we all know goals play a pivotal roll in success, it’s the process of getting to that goal that makes the difference. Process provides a way for us to focus our attention on the small steps in-between starting and winning.

Without process, we can easily become distracted. The everyday hiccups that are common in life overtake us, and our ability to breathe, to rationally think, plan, organize and prepare, goes out the window. We start to second-guess our decisions and rush toward the finish line. We jump from one piece of the puzzle to the next, never really focused on what’s in front of us at that very moment.

Our process here at BlackOut utilizes programs such as Basecamp, Slack and Invision to help keep us, as well as our clients, on track and focused. Basecamp, a project management tool, keeps itemized ‘to do’ lists for each employee based on deliverables and client. Slack is an internal instant messenger used to communicate and collaborate with each other in between meetings, and Invision is software that allows us to show concepts to clients and easily collects their comments and feedback. We’ve found that these programs provide us with channels to focus our attention on every detail of a project from start to finish.

The road to success- a title, trophy or promotion- is just that… a road. And you travel along a road in steps. One at a time, bit by bit, step by step.