Skip to main content
power points

Performance coach Ed Mylett says to achieve meaningful things in your life you need a strategy of “one more try.”

It’s about working harder, but not ridiculously – sensibly. He points to basketball legend Michael Jordan, known not just for his extraordinary scoring record, but also for how hard he practised, repeating shots over and over again, even after the official practice was over.

Winning is a numbers game, Mr. Mylett believes. “If you want to be an overachiever, you must create better numbers for whatever is important to you,” he writes in The Power of One More.

The concept can be applied in many aspects of your life, starting with adding more “days” to your work day. Divide your waking hours into three equal parts, or mini-days, and aim for urgency and a steady flow in each segment. His first “day” runs from 6 a.m. to noon, the second from noon to 6 p.m. and the third from 6 p.m. to midnight. He’s not working every single moment, but treating each as a full day, with work and other pursuits intermingled. “While you’re living seven days in one week, I’m living 21 days in one week,” he notes.

Your life can still be in balance. But he says you are turbocharging it, squeezing the useless air out of wasted parts of your life. You develop better habits, to match the urgency.

He points out that runners pick up speed as they near the finish line and the adrenalin kicks in. Similarly, this six-hour day makes the finish line closer and you will move from jog to sprint mode more often.

Here are some other places for using the “one more” approach:

  • Emotions: Start to replace thoughts that lead to negative emotions with helpful ones. You will gain better control of a key aspect of your personality. You will be energized. Rebuild your emotional framework, one emotion at a time.
  • Associations: Your relationships help to define you. Add people to your life – particularly in your inner circle of friends – who possess the ideals and ideas you want the most. Quality is more important than quantity, so you need to be judicious, eliminating relationships that are bad for you and keeping in mind even a small amount of time with the right people can pay dividends.
  • Questions: To change the quality of your thoughts, you need to change the quality of the questions you ask yourself. “What if you could find one more powerful question to ask yourself several times a day?” Mr. Mylett asks. Possibilities he offers: What one more thing can I do to show my spouse or partner I love them? How can I do one more thing to improve my relationship with my children? What’s one more thing I can do to calm myself down today?
  • Standards: Consistently review and upgrade the standards by which you live your life – what you are willing to tolerate and what you won’t. Then never tolerate treatment less than what you are worthy of.
  • Inconvenience: We succumb to what is convenient, but he insists convenience and greatness cannot co-exist. Embrace inconvenience as a way of life, shunning the easy stuff for the hard stuff that gets results.
  • Equanimity: Aim for one more degree or level of equanimity in your life. You can’t control the outcomes in your life, but you can exercise control over setbacks, trying to limit their negative impact. Find serenity as you battle the challenges of your life.

One more. One more. One more.

It adds up.

Quick hits

  • “One more” applies to practising your presentations. Some people believe you can practise too much, but communications coach Carmine Gallo in his newsletter says Steve Jobs practised every line and gesture and demonstration of a gadget for weeks ahead of his product launches.
  • In your job search, customize everything. Executive recruiter Gerald Walsh in his newsletter says most job seekers make the mistake of sending templated cover letters, using the same résumé for every job they apply for, and giving vague, generalized answers to any interview question. Customize your cover letter, résumé and interview answers to the job.
  • Your smartphone is the Swiss Army Knife of the digital age, observes consultant Wally Bock. Have you mastered it for full productivity?
  • Whenever a generous impulse arises in your mind – to give money, check in on a friend or send an e-mail praising a colleague’s work – author Oliver Burkeman recommends acting right away rather than waiting.

Harvey Schachter is a Kingston-based writer specializing in management issues. He, along with Sheelagh Whittaker, former CEO of both EDS Canada and Cancom, are the authors of When Harvey Didn’t Meet Sheelagh: Emails on Leadership.

Stay ahead in your career. We have a weekly Careers newsletter to give you guidance and tips on career management, leadership, business education and more. Sign up today.