6 Ways You Can Break Records Like Peyton Manning

Greatness. Occasionally we get a glimpse.

In the moment it can be hard to appreciate a true artist – one who masters his craft. But for the past couple of decades we have been witnesses of the greatness of Mozart on a football field, Peyton Manning.

Peyton Manning Breaks the TD RecordOn Sunday, “The Sheriff” broke the N.F.L. record for the number of touchdown passes in a career. Considering it took Peyton three and a half seasons less to eclipse former record holder Brett Favre’s mark of 508 TD passes, I would say greatness is the correct word.

Watching Manning grind away at greatness has been awesome. He has been criticized, scrutinized, injured, and doubted to the point of being fired by his former team, and yet he continues to perform at the highest level of any QB in history.

As leaders, I wonder what would happen if we approached our opportunities the same way Manning has his? Is it possible we could break records too?

I have a friend who is a record breaker in business. He continually outperforms others in his industry, and he is someone I am challenged by every time we are together. A few years ago he shared the following acrostic with me on how to break a r.e.c.o.r.d. Perhaps Manning was eavesdropping, because he has demonstrated each of these practices.

Risk more – After sitting out an entire season injured and having endured four neck surgeries, Manning’s likelihood of reaching the record seemed impossible. Yet here he is because of his willingness to risk whatever was required to reach his full potential. Leaders who break records risk more than others.

Expect more – Stories abound of Manning’s reach for perfection. He has expected more of himself and his teammates than anyone who has ever played. If you hope to achieve something great it will be up to you to set the bar for yourself and your team. Expect more and watch what happens.

Care more – Peyton has been the most conscientious guy in the league for years, taking pride in his pursuit of excellence at unprecedented levels. Record breakers care more than the competition. 

Organize more – Watching Manning orchestrate an offense is like watching a conductor lead a symphony. He is always the most prepared player on the field on either side of the ball. Leaders need to set the pace for their teams, consistently modeling what it means to be prepared for every challenge.

Reevaluate more – Perhaps the best thing #18 has done through the years is become a student of the game. Manning has studied film and made adjustments better than everyone else. He has risen from failure and gotten better throughout his career. Do you go back and evaluate your work, seeking to improve every day? Record breakers do.

Do more – In an age of big contracts and free agency, no one has ever questioned Manning’s work ethic. He has been the first one in the building and the last one to leave for nearly two decades. Leaders who break records show up more consistently and passionately do the work.

The interesting thing about each of these steps is they are all available to anyone who is willing to discipline himself and go after them.

I encourage you to implement all six into your game plan. If you do, I’m convinced you will be on your way to setting records, just like old #18.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What is the biggest goal you have your sights set on between now and the end of 2014?

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Are You Struggling With Lust?

Lust will shipwreck a leader. Does today find you struggling to keep your appetites in check?

Lust takes on different forms, but the end result is always the same. Emptiness.

Lust is defined as “a passionate or overmastering desire or craving.”

Are there areas in your life where you have failed to master your appetites? Maybe you have a hunger for power? A craving for cash? A desire for pleasure?

The problem with lust is that, unlike Snickers, it never satisfies. It is always an illusion of what “might” be.

The Bible refers to this illusion in Proverbs 27:20. It reads, “Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man.”

Did you catch that? The eyes are never satisfied!

There will always be a newer make and model; a latest and greatest product; a sleeker and sexier person.

Don’t buy the lie. Remember, the eyes are never satisfied.

If you want to be a leader who leads with integrity, you must find your satisfaction in something other than what you see. Lust will never bring you what you want and it might eventually be your undoing.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What are some areas that you see leaders being lured by lust?

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Are You Chasing Flawless?

A few weeks ago, the definition of flawless was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Without fanfare, perhaps the greatest lineman in NFL history, Walter Jones, took his place among football immortals. According to Jones, the gold jacket was an unlikely ending to his life in football. In his own words, “All I ever wanted was to make it to the NFL.”

Jones, who played only for the Seattle Seahawks, did more than make it. He was simply great. During his amazing career he proved to be a 6’5, 325 pound, wall on the left side of the Seahawks offensive line. As a left tackle he was virtually perfect.

Consider that Jones was responsible for protecting the quarterback on over 5,500 passes during his career, and yet yielded only 23 sacks. Or, how about the fact that Jones made it to the Pro Bowl 9 times, the same number of times he was flagged for holding during his entire 13 year career.

When asked about his big left tackle, Seahawks coach, Mike Holmgren said, “Walter is the best offensive player I have ever coached.” By the way, in case you didn’t know, Holmgren coached Jerry Rice, Joe Montanna, Steve Young, and Brett Farve. Talk about high praise!

Walter demonstrated the physical toughness to impose his will on his opponents. His training regimen included pushing an SUV on hot summer days at his Alabama home. But Jones toughness was not merely physical. Perhaps more importantly, he possessed the mental strength to also do his work the right way, without shortcuts.

When I think of Walter Jones, I am challenged to reach for excellence in my own work.

Big Walt ended up in Canton because he chased greatness. Day by day, one practice and one snap at a time. As you lead today I encourage you to focus on flawless on your field. Give your team the best you have and then show up tomorrow and do it again.

Who knows? You might become a legend too.

Leadership Begins at Home,


Why do you think some leaders reach for greatness while others settle for being good?

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Stars Don’t Win Championships, Cultures Do

October. The very word brings to mind one thing (and it has nothing to do with candy). No, it’s baseball.

This week I am using my time to encourage leaders in an unlikely place … a baseball instructional league. While the MLB playoffs are taking place on the big stage, I’m hanging out with a group of first year hopefuls down in sunny Florida.

Instructional League

The thing that has captured my attention as I have spent time with world class coaches for the past couple of days is their relentless commitment to foster a championship culture among the recruits.

If you listen to the media you will be convinced the key to winning a championship is to fill your roster with high paid superstars. You would be wrong.

Stars rarely win championships, healthy cultures usually do.

In baseball, Buster Posey is the only player in either league to win an MVP and a World Series during the same season in over 25 years. Why? Because stars don’t win championships, cultures do.

Can you say San Antonio Spurs?

Whether it’s baseball, basketball, or business, those who create the strongest, most healthy, culture gain a tremendous competitive advantage.

How much time do and your team spend working on your culture, revisiting the vision, values, and strategy? If you focus more on results than you do your culture, don’t expect to like where you end up. You are headed for mediocrity.

Remember, teams don’t drift their way to championship results. They build a winning culture and then protect it.

Is it time to create an instructional league for your team?

Leadership Begins at Home,


In your opinion, what organization has a great culture?

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Are You Focused on Success?

When it comes to evaluating staff, do you focus on success or failure?

Author Bobb Biehl has written some of the best material on evaluating staff I have read. Biehl reminds leaders, “80 to 90 percent of all your evaluation should be focused on the positive — what they’re doing right, not what they’re doing wrong.” He goes on, “An evaluation is meant to help a person look good, not to make them look bad. Evaluation is more preventive than corrective.”

How are you doing as an evaluator of your team members? Do they look forward to evaluation day or do they view it as judgment day?

Great leaders believe in their direct reports and inspire them through encouragement. Mediocre leaders look for mistakes and play the blame game.

If you want to be a better leader, start with being more positive with your team. Make them look good and they will make you look good!

Leadership Begins at Home,


Which comes more natural for you during evaluations — focusing on the positive or looking for mistakes?

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