Daily Dose of Coach #278: Mike Tyson and Publix

I always watch closely how the bagger thinks through putting the groceries in the plastic bags at Publix.

It's my general rule to carry all the groceries into the house at one time. I notice if groceries are bagged correctly it's much easier to make this happen.

In general, the best baggers are looking at what's coming across the line and determining what fits best with what and how to use the least amount of bags possible.

In the end, you have a tightly packed cart with lots of groceries and minimal bags.

The not so good baggers don't pay attention to what is coming down the line and start throwing items into any bag it will fit in. I've also noticed that at least 50% of the time, this person is either talking about break time or complaining about something at work.

I've often said that when a young athlete comes to me to begin training, I can tell within the first 10 minutes if the kid has a shot at being great. If you have been around, studied and observed successful athletes you'll notice they approach everything differently. They are determined from the beginning, have a genuine excitement, are focused, courageous, don't mind making mistakes, always asking for more, and are fanatical about the details. They would be great baggers at Publix.

In the book, Iron Ambition, My Life with Cus D'Aamato, Mike Tyson talks about the stairway that went up to his Cus D'Amato's gym (Tyson's first coach). Cus used this staircase to determine if the kid was going to be a great fighter:

"The gym was up three flights of rickety stairs. If you stood at the bottom of the stairs, you could see all the way to the top. It was like you were climbing a stairway to heaven. Once you got up to the top, there was a big hole in the door, patched up with mesh wiring, and there was a huge watchdog that would smash up against the mesh barking like crazy.

Cuss always said he could determine a lot about the character of a kid who made that trek up the stairs. He even called that walk, 'The Trial.' If the kid came up alone and wasn't deterred by the dog, and pushed the door open and said he wanted to be a fighter, Cuss knew he had something to work with.

But, if someone brought a kid there, it was a different story. I knew I had my work cut out for me. Because that fellow didn't have the discipline or the desire strong enough, at the time, to come up there by himself, open the door and say, 'Hey, I want to be a fighter."

Your approach to everything you do is being observed.

The greatest athletes I've worked with and studied focus fiercely on the details. From the time they walk into the gym to the time they leave. Everything they do has a purpose that is leading them to a greater goal. They work with intent, are present in the moment.

One day, you're going to have to walk up a metaphorical set of D'Amato's stairs. Your character will be judged on how you walk up those stairs and decide to open the door. Learn that if you want to be great, you have to do things with courage and focused intent. And in many cases, you'll have to do it on your own.

I always choose the line at Publix based on the bagger. You are chosen at some level every day. Learn and practice what approach it takes to be the best choice.