Striving for Perfection on the Basketball Court and in Life

By: Jeff Moore
Jul 7, 2016 3:35 PM ET
Jeff Moore, Vice President, Strategy, Sodexo North America & Former Marine Veteran

Striving for Perfection on the Basketball Court and in Life

“I’m someone who will push you beyond all reasonable limits. Someone who will ask you not to just fulfill your potential but to exceed it. Someone who will expect more from you than you may believe you are capable of.” – Pat Summitt

Pat Summitt, head coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team from 1974 to 2012, was a master of hard work, determination and success. Summitt won over 1,098 games, 8 NCAA titles, and the hearts of millions of people across the globe. As the world mourns the recent loss of such an inspiring coach, we also remember her brilliant legacy and the lessons it can teach us as we move forward.

Perfection. Pat Summitt strived for perfection. According to Summitt, “anything less than a national championship ‘isn’t good enough,’” said Michelle Marciniak, former Voles player. While Summitt pushed her players hard, her underlying message is an important one: we can always improve. Whether we fail to reach our goal at the end of the fiscal year, or we have surprisingly low engagement in a newly developed social media campaign, there are always lessons to be learned. From failure to success, there are takeaways we can find to improve ourselves and strive to be the closest we can to perfection.

Goal Setting. In Summit’s own words, “It’s harder to stay on top than it is to make the climb. Continue to seek new goals.” A huge part of the joy in reaching a goal is the process of getting there. If we fail to set new goals, we’ll have less drive and motivation, lowering our overall happiness. Continuing to seek new heights is a healthy and happy decision.

Attitude. Summitt was a firm believer that attitude defines outcome. If we approach a task with a negative attitude, a negative outcome is likely to occur, because we’re unlikely to be putting in our maximum effort. A simple shift in outlook can not only change the outcome of a task, but also make the entire process more enjoyable. While some tasks may not be ideal, there are simple joys to be found in every piece of work we do. Summitt pushed her players to have a motivated and competitive attitude, and that led to eight national championships.

Summitt inspired and encouraged her players above all reasonable limits. In a battle against gender inequality and adversity, Summitt taught us that any person could find success. She changed how the world viewed woman’s basketball, and left us with a mindset that will never be forgotten.

Thank you, Pat, for your everlasting legacy.

Sodexo is committed to improving performance and enhancing quality of life for the individuals, organizations and communities we serve. Has someone inspired and encouraged you to achieve unexpected success? Share your story in the comments.

Jeff Moore is Vice President of Strategy for Sodexo North America. He is responsible for enhancing customer value creation and establishing long-term goals and strategic objectives. Mr. Moore served as a commissioned officer of Marines for six years; Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm veteran. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from Auburn University and his Master’s in Business Administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.