Behind the Mike!
By: Michael Aun
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Your Capability Gap
I had the pleasure of meeting Nick Saban when he was the Defensive Coordinator for Bill Belichick at the Cleveland Browns in 1993. Belichick’s agent was my personal attorney, the late Craig S. Kelly of Columbia, SC.
Over the years, I have come to admire the many lessons both Saban and Belichick have espoused. The most recent gem was a Saban made in passing at a press conference in December 2021. He spoke rather eloquently about the concept of your “Capability Gap.”
As round the corner into a new year, it is helpful to do some self-assessment before closing the books on the current campaign.
Our biggest obstacle is getting over ourselves, our own self-defined limits. The difficulty? Most of us have created our own glass ceiling in becoming the person we want to be.
Many times, that boils down to making tough decisions or doing what you previously thought you could never do. Says who?
When I was disqualified from the World Championship of Public Speaking in 1977 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for going 8 seconds over my time limit, perhaps I should have felt content to be one of the nine best speakers in the Toastmasters International speaking world at the time.
Because it was me who beat me, I was anything but content. In fact, I was angry at myself. I had no one to blame but me. I knew the rules but got caught up in a standing ovation right in the middle of my own speech… that lasted exactly (you guessed it) eight seconds.
I did come back to win it the next year in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1978. However, I have always contended that you must go through the “Toronto’s” in your life to reach the “Vancouver’s.” The path to greatness often starts with failure.
It does not mean you have to throw in the towel and quit. The greatest speaker I ever competed against was Fred Wienecke in 1977 in Toronto. He had been to the Toastmasters International speech contest finals 21 times and never won. Once you win, you are no longer allowed to compete.
We are all capable of doing more. I am not sure I would have gone back to that well 21 times. I am committed but that kind of obsession might “get you committed.” While I admire Fred’s tenacity, I am not that obsessed with winning a trophy.
How will you know what your limits are until you test them? What is your capability gap? You know… that little something you left on the table because you did not want to risk more?
Saban, Belichick and others all preach the same stuff. Our burden is not what is in front of us but our own unfulfilled potential. Every great football coach teaches that every play is designed to go for a touchdown. If your team fails to score, one or more of your teammates failed to deliver. That simple.
Your capacity is not your potential. It is but a seed for an unknown future harvest that may open other incredible opportunities in your life. Keep dreaming and never give up.
If you are unwilling to challenge your past and disturb yourself from complacency… if you are unable to define your weaknesses, you will never achieve your potential.
If you find your unthinkable, it is likely to be disguised in the form of one of your weaknesses that you have not found to time to overcome. It is not in your comfort zone. Keep at it!
Michael Aun, CSP ®, CPAE ® Hall of Fame Speaker is the author of Winning the Time Wars (How to Build a 26-Hour Day)