Simone Biles made history this weekend at the 2019 U.S. Gymnastics Championships. And she did so more than once. Biles became the first person ever to land a 'double-double' dismount off the high beam and to perform a triple-double in competition on her floor routine.

Remarkably, Biles didn't have to push herself to do what nobody had ever done in order to win her sixth all-around title. According to Biles an interview with the New York Times, "I feel like you should never settle just because you are winning or you are at the top. You should always push yourself." 

In two words, Biles revealed the internal attitude that makes her a champion. 

"Never settle."

Biles competes against her greatest competitor--herself. In her book, Courage to Soar, Biles credits her mom for her winning attitude. "Don't ever compete against someone else," her mother would say. "You don't go out there to beat another person. You go out there and be the best Simone you can be."

The 'never settle' attitude is a hallmark of great athletes, and great entrepreneurs.

In his now famous Stanford commencement speech, Steve Jobs said, "The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle." It was such an important theme to Jobs, he repeated it twice in the speech. "Keep looking until you find it. Don't settle," he added.

As an entrepreneur, what does it mean to 'never settle?'

Measure yourself against the best.

Steve Jobs didn't measure himself against the industry average. He measured his success against the best in any business.

For example, when Apple launched its first retail store, Jobs didn't study competitors in the computer industry. Instead, he ordered the executives overseeing the new retail model to study the best in customer service. Jobs sent them to five-star hotels like The Ritz-Carlton and The Four Seasons. It's why the Apple store didn't have a cashier, but it did have a 'concierge.'

Measure yourself against the best, even if they're outside your industry.

Always learn something new. 

Never settle means taking every opportunity to learn something new. "Entrepreneurs never settle," says Richard Branson. "They always have an insatiable thirst for learning, evolving and creating."

In the groundbreaking book, Mindset, Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck revealed that successful entrepreneurs have a "growth mindset:" the belief that potential is not stagnant. Dweck says that successful entrepreneurs might start out as ordinary people, but they believed they could learn and get better. People with a 'fixed mindset' believe their qualities (intellect, skills) are carved in stone. They fail to grow because they don't think they can get better.

In short, change your beliefs; change your life.

Strive to improve your public-speaking skills.

Most of the CEOs, entrepreneurs and senior executives who read my books and contact me are already good public speakers. But they don't settle for good. They want to stand out, to be among the best speakers in their fields.

I recently spent time with the head of sales for a large, publicly-traded company. He asked me for advice on an upcoming sales meeting to kick off the new fiscal year. After last year's keynote, employees gave this executive vice president the highest presentation scores in company history.

"I want to raise the bar. I can always get better," he told me. The only person this sales star is competing against is himself. He's already a rock star his team, but he never settles. 

You can tell a lot about a person by the quotes that inspire them. Simon Biles opens chapter 18 of her book with a quote by Nobel peace-prize winner, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: "The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough." 

Simone Biles is great because she's not okay with average. In a hyper-competitive world, average only guarantees below-average outcomes. Never settle for anything less than excellence. 

Published on: Aug 12, 2019
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