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Since 1987, my clients have been my masters.  The one we’re going to talk about today is Bert Miller.

bert miller

Even if my study of my clients was only limited to how I could help them, that study alone would require that my client be my master.  But, each client I serve really has attained his own spot in the world of mastery or, well, he wouldn’t be able to afford to hire me.  I used to rail against it, but I am absolutely and even definitively…a luxury.

Still, when you’re a master, finding a source that can help you rise to the next level has a tinge of necessity too.  But, enough about me!

What does it mean for a client to be my master?  It means I must find the lesson I require, for myself, that my client can teach me.  When it comes to Bert, there are many such lessons he’s instructed me in over the years.  But, there is one that rises above all the rest, and by far.  It is the inches lesson.

On the off chance you’re not familiar with Al Pacino’s half-time speech from the movie On Any Given Sunday, here is the video clip:

How did Bert teach this principle to me?  By living up to it, and more, by demanding that in our work we never veer from its mandate.  It’s so easy to get excited about conversions, field goals and touchdowns, not to mention championships and super bowls, etc.  It’s so easy to find your motivation in the cash, the fun, the trophy, the social rewards associated.  But, none of those are the inches that Al informs us are the only things that matter.

Bert teaches an associated lesson that reinforces the principle.  He teaches us that most teams – most people in any part of life or business – don’t win, not by aggressively getting things right.  Rather, victory most typically goes to the player or team that made the fewest deadly mistakes.  The way Bert says it is:

“The winning team usually didn’t, the losing team usually did.”

This is NOT to say that we shouldn’t fight to win.  Of course we must.  But, the way to do that is not over the victory itself, but over the necessary inches.

Next week we’ll follow up on this lesson by looking again at Bert, but this time, we’re going to see the ancient, Japanese Zen Master that Bert carries inside.  Don’t worry if that makes no sense, yet, it will next time!

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