The subject of persistence came up in a Q&A session at my son’s school this week. The guest speaker was Eddie Jones, former England Rugby Coach. He’d run a training session for the U16-18s rugby teams and then was open to receiving over an hour’s worth of questions from the pupils and teachers.
My son, Eddie, the School’s 1st XV Rugby Captain , asked the first question about why he is getting injured so much! Eddie Jones was quick to reply that to get injured you’re most likely doing something wrong. My son replied that he was receiving different injuries to which Jones said that my son must be doing several things wrong! Ouch! Some hard truths right there!
Many excellent questions were posed covering topics such as talent versus hard work, vital player attributes needed, the effectiveness of coaching skills and techniques and the importance of mindset, motivation and leadership qualities.
A stand out moment for me was when Jones said, “It’s not the winning or losing of games, it’s the relationships with the players that matter most to me. It’s about respect.” When he first started coaching he said he’d wanted to be liked. He learned that that was not the right way to work, that to be respected was a better objective to hold.
Jones spoke about how some players are more coachable than others and that everyone wants to be a coach however very few people are able to coach well. In rugby, he coaches mindset more than any other aspect as it is a player-driven game. He said that attitude was more important than talent. To be willing to train in all weathers, have a persistence to learn, develop and grow were key to a winning performance.
He gave an example of this winning mindset strategy of persistence. He shared that Richie McCaw, arguably one of the greatest rugby players of all time, wrote down a goal aged 15 that he would be the best All Black rugby player ever. With his pursuit of success through persistence, effort and hard work, McCaw made it happen.
Jones demonstrated that he is persistent with his own learning sharing that he will continue to learn, grow and coach until someone says, “you’ve had enough!” Currently, aged 62, Jones is still very much learning, growing and coaching and is in a high level mastermind with other coaches from different sports. Among them are Arsenal’s Manager Mikel Arteta, Green Bay Packers’ Head Coach Matt LaFleur and Mike Dunlap, Assistant Coach at the Milwaukee Bucks, Michael Jordan's former Head Coach.
They meet once a month virtually and share all the problems they are each facing. Jones said, “we are coaches from all different sports. It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous. We share all our problems every month with one another. It’s fantastic.” The power of the mastermind always works its wonders finding solutions from the extra brain that is formed through the combined knowledge, insights and experiences accumulated over the years.
Coming home from the session, one of my son’s friends said to me reflecting on his attitude to academia and sport, “my parents often remind me that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Wise words that beautifully sum up my message to you today.
Don’t give up on your dreams, if you focus on persistence you will achieve what you desire.
Focus on Persistence!
ACTION POINT - What does persistence mean to you? What do you want to achieve in life and how will being persistent help you to get it?