Prepare to be inspired and then to work hard as you read Bo Eason’s book on how to be the best in the world at what you do. The book, published earlier this month, and is called, There’s No Plan B For Your A-Game.
Former NFL All-Pro and now one of the most in-demand motivational speakers and trainers, Eason provides you the four-step, real-world, game plan to help you reach your goals (declarations) and to play your A-game.
Packed with uplifting personal stories, action steps and writing exercises, you’ll learn how to be accountable for developing your character, integrity, and commitment to reaching your goals.
Plus, you’ll learn:
- Why obstacles are a good thing.
- The value of a “Never Do Again” list.
- How to leave behind those who don’t help you move forward.
- Why writing your success story in reverse is the best approach.
Today, Eason shares the following great advice:
Question: How can a person stay focused and not let distractions take her/him off course?
Eason: When you hear people say, “We live in the most distracted time in human history,” what’s your first reaction? A lot of people feel depressed. I almost start drooling with anticipation. Why? Because it’s a HUGE opportunity for people like you and me—people who are NOT distracted—to become the most valuable humans on the planet.
I want you to take a two-step approach:
Step 1: Identity, own and eliminate your distractions.
Now, the most dangerous distractions are the ones that you don’t know are distracting you.
The other day I was on Instagram, not living my dream. I’m living Instagram’s dream, right? Then my phone rings, and I’m looking at it, and I’m being distracted from my distractions! That’s a dangerous place to be. Which is exactly why you need to name your distractions. So, you can be more aware.
Once you identify your distractions, you can take ownership of them.
Take a nice deep breath, think about your life, and start writing. I want you to be brutally honest here. Which of your activities are a distraction from actually living?
Watching hours of random TV shows? Vacantly scrolling through your social media feeds? Eating mindlessly? Drinking?
Write it all down. Don’t be embarrassed; you’re the only one who will see this list. It’s important to be completely open with yourself about how you distract yourself from living out of your declaration.
Now organize your distraction list. Divide that list into three sections: distractions you can get rid of tomorrow, distractions you can get rid of in a month, and distractions you can get rid of in a year.
Keep that list with you. Make a copy and put it up in your bathroom or on your bedside table or somewhere you’ll see it every day. Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate.
Step 2: Become so ultra-present that distractions just...disappear.
Now there will be distractions that you can’t get rid of. You’ll need a strategy for those.
Think about Tom Brady at the Super Bowl. He walks up to take the snap, and the defense is screaming and yelling out plays to try and distract him. One hundred thousand fans, booing him. Rain coming down on his face. You know the scene.
Do you think Tom Brady is distracted? No way. As one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he is inclusive of those distractions. He is not pretending that they are not there. He includes those distractions and makes them part of his game. That is what we call ultra-presence or doing a dance with everything around you.
By the way, this isn’t limited to great athletes. Navy Seals, Green Berets, and firefighters have to use this same principle.
Now look back at your distractions list: What are those distractions in your life that you have to include? Bring them along with you, include them as part of you. Learn to dance with those distractions.
Question: How can a person get and stay motivated every day?
Eason: Look, no one is 100% committed every day. No one. Everyone gives up on their dream at times. Everyone quits. The difference is, the best get back up, right the ship and recommit.
Once you make your declaration, once you commit to your dream, the truth is you’re going to be off course 99% of the time. That sounds outrageous, right? But it’s true.
You’re going to get distracted, or you’re going to go on vacation, or you’re going to have a family emergency, or you’re going to have an unexpected deadline - that’s life.
So, it helps if you think of yourself as a plane leaving Los Angeles for Maui. What happens on a long flight like that? The pilots take the plane through takeoff and get up to cruising altitude.
Then they put the plane on automatic pilot, then they eat their lunch and talk with passengers and do whatever else they do, and the autopilot is guiding that jet all the way to Maui.
But the plane is actually off course for almost the entire time. But it keeps correcting itself, and eventually, it lands exactly where it’s supposed to be.
Think of yourself as that jet. Your job is not to beat yourself up, not to be ashamed of failing to keep your commitment to your dream. Your job is to right the ship.
Sometimes that correction will be day to day, sometimes hour to hour, and some days it’s minute to minute. By using the phrase, the best, you know when you’re off course.
It’s just a matter of checking in with your dream and then making adjustments to get yourself back on course. That action you’re taking right now -- ask yourself, is it in line with your plan to be the best? Yes? Great. Carry on. No? Course correct now.
The great thing about your dream or your declaration is that it takes precedence over everything else. You’re tired and don’t want to get out of bed? You get out of bed and work out because that’s what your declaration tells you to do.
This way of living is simple, but it’s not easy. Especially at first. I can be pretty tough because you’re changing your fundamental way of being. I know just how lonely it can be when you’re fighting to be the best. I know how hard it is to continue to get back up and course correct. So, I want you to have a tribe of warriors fighting by your side to keep you motivated.
Question: What’s the difference between a “goal” and a “declaration”?
Eason: If you really want to get somewhere significant, if you want to end up at the top, if you want to be the Best, you need something with a little more weight to it. That’s why I create Declarations.
Declarations say: This is who we are, this is how we live, these are our values, this is what we believe.
Think of your declaration like the Declaration of Independence. Who created it? Our founding fathers. How long ago? 250+ years. And you and I live out the declaration every minute of every day. We bring it in existence, hour by hour, day by day, year by year.
That moves me. That strikes me as something incredibly deep. And something that takes huge discipline.
That’s how I want you to think about your own declaration—with that kind of gravitas.
That’s why I don’t want you to think in terms of “goals.” Instead, I want you to make a Declaration about who you want to become.
I made my first declaration when I was nine. I declared I was going to play pro football. I took out a crayon and paper and drew up my plan. That plan guided my life. For the next nine years, I woke up every morning at 5 a.m. to run drills. Everything I did was with that NFL dream in mind.
If an activity or event didn’t help me become the best safety in the world, I didn’t do it. I didn’t go to prom. I didn’t go out on a Saturday night. I didn’t goof around. This was my LIFE DREAM.
In 1984, the Houston Oilers drafted me as a top safety during the NFL draft. Then years later, after a career-ending knee injury knocked me out of football, I made a new declaration: to become the best stage performer of all time. I spent the next 15 years acting, taking any role I could.
I eventually wrote and staged a one-person semi-autobiographical play called Runt of the Litter. The New York Times called it “one of the most powerful plays of the last decade.”
Every big result I have seen in life started as a declaration.
You’re going to declare what you want to be the best at and live out of that declaration.
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Name it. What do you want to be the best in the world at?
Always use “the best” in your declaration. I started by saying:
I want to be the best safety in the world.
My second one was:
I want to be the best stage performer of my time.
My third one was:
I want to become the best speaker and trainer in the world.
What do you want to be the best at? The best violinist? Dad? Scientist? Tennis player? Write it down.
Step 2: Draw your declaration.
I did this with crayons when I was a kind. Some of you might be saying: Bo, I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a businesswoman. I don’t draw things! Put that aside for a minute. Draw it up. Don’t resist this.
What does this look like? What are you standing? What house do you live in? Who are you married to? What life are you living?
Step 3: Live into it.
This is the toughest one. Most people try to achieve certain milestones. I want you to BE the best each and every day. I want you to live it.
Bring it to life by internalizing your declaration. Then share it with friends, family, co-workers.
Question: How do we overcome obstacles and challenges we encounter?
Eason: I’m not going to sugar coat it. The number one skill you need to overcome challenges in life is commitment. You have to have the guts to commit. You have to be willing to choose the pain of discipline over the pain of regret.
It takes commitment, and it takes focus, and it takes hard work. But if you fully commit yourself, you can be the best in the world at what you do. I’m proof that this attitude can succeed.
Let me ask you…
What would your life look like if you gave everything you have, all the time? What would your life look like if you showed up in that way? How profound would the changes be if you brought that kind of heart to your marriage, your parenting, your friendship, your business?
I guarantee that when you look back over a life lived with that kind of commitment, you’ll realize that you were the best, goddammit. I can’t imagine living any other way.
Question: What’s the advantage of laying out a decades-long plan for our dreams?
Eason: The biggest mistake I see when people decide on a dream is they don’t think big enough. They set small goals with wimpy-ass timelines. Don’t do that! Don’t have weak timelines. Instead, take stock in 20-year plans.
Now, I may just have knocked the wind out of some of you reading this, because 20 years may feel like a lot. Why do I think in 20-year timelines? Because, it takes time to be the best. It takes decades, not months. I have lived and steered my life with 20-year plans. This is the timeline for success.
With my first declaration or life dream I wanted to be the best safety in the world. I figured, when I was nine, that it would take me 15 years until I graduated and was eligible for the draft, and then 5 years to win the Super Bowl. So 20 years total.
Now, what if you’re thinking, I don’t have 20 years to do this. Are you telling me you’re not going to be around in 20 years?
Well, those 20 years are coming for all of us. I’m going to be nearly 80 years old in 20 years. You can bet I’m going to spend those 20 years getting to be the best at something instead of phoning it in and whining.
When you give yourself 20 years, you can achieve anything. It’s not about talent, it’s about putting in the practice. If you run the miles, you’ll get to your finish line.
One of my favorite authors, Anders Ericsson, said, there are no shortcuts and there are no prodigies. Ericsson is the Godfather of what it takes to be world-class.
There are no shortcuts. There are no prodigies. So, don't believe what the media tells you about this person's a natural or that person has the right genes. There is no such thing.
Unfortunately, we live in a world of hacks and shortcuts and you're going to be tempted to shorten your timelines and get a quick fix. Don’t do that. That robs your power. That long-term commitment is what gives you the power.
By the way, sometimes it doesn't take 20 years. It usually takes 12 to 15 to 18. The idea is I want you to think: I'm not going anywhere because I'm a lifer.
I want you to ask yourself:
How will you make smaller commitments to stay on track with your long-term dream? How will you take these bite-size pieces of time and use them to keep you on track, to keep you accountable to your own dreams?
One last thought on this: It won’t take you 20 years to be successful. You’ll have success along the way, you’ll make money, you’ll change your life. But you need that long-time span to become the best, to fulfill your declaration.
And it doesn’t need to be something new. It could be something you’re currently doing—let’s say you want to be the best parent, or the best accountant, or the best spouse, or something else you’re doing now but you want to be the best. Just name your intention and then get after it.
Question: What are some practical ways to become the best in the world at what you do?
Eason: To be the best, you need to completely flip our culture’s relationship to practice and performance. Practice has to be the center of your universe. More importantly, you’ve got to practice outside your current capacity. It hard to pull this off consistently. You can’t phone it in. That’s not how you improve.
It’s not easy. But if it were easy, everyone would do it. It’s not about being easy. It’s not about enjoyment. It’s not about having a good time. It’s about greatness.
And you absolutely must be out of your comfort zone to adapt to the new level and to achieve greatness.
I’m not going to lie. Some days you’re going to go backwards. The only thing that matters is that you stay outside your comfort zone and you keep challenging homeostasis. You keep committing. It’s where your greatness lives.
Everyone else thinks the big game is the big game, but it never is. You do not get paid as an athlete for the game; you don’t get paid as a writer for the story. You get paid for the practice, for the rehearsal, for the training that led you to that performance.
Daniel Coyle, who wrote The Talent Code, studied several hotbeds of talent around the world -- tennis clubs, swim centers, classical music schools -- and he found that the most successful people have a completely different relationship to practice. For them, practice is the big game.
For most of the world, performance is 90% of their time, and the practice backing it up is about 10% of their time. If you want to be the best, you’ve got to flip that. You’ve got to make rehearsal, practice, training the center of your universe.
If you want to become the best in the world, you are going to spend 90% of your time preparing for your performance, and only 10% performing.
Struggle is a biological necessity to us. You should attempt to fail more than everybody else, because that means you’re trying harder than anyone else. And eventually you get so good at it that you’re the best. And that’s no accident. That’s because of practice.
So, forget about the big game. Get out there and practice. And make sure your practicing outside of your comfort zone. That’s what the best do differently
Thank you to the book's publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.