How to Build an Incredibly Productive Career

The opportunities for success are all-around us.

Christopher D. Connors


Photo by Andrea Natali on Unsplash

20 years ago, a sports movie called, Any Given Sunday opened with a whole lot of audacity, and to largely mixed reviews. The big-budget film starring Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx, and many big Hollywood stars and former pro athletes, made good money at the box office. But it wasn’t quite the epic, behind-the-scenes look at the, well, kind of scary world of pro football that its directors had hoped for.

The movie’s lasting impact is a speech that has transcended sports cinema and become a powerful mantra for living espoused by millions of people. The speech is delivered by Pacino’s character, Tony D’Amato, who is the head coach of the fictional Miami Sharks.

A broken down, weathered Pacino is addressing his team before the biggest game of their season. The longtime coach very humbly shares his personal disappointments, and how he’s let all of the people down in his life that he’s loved.

Yikes. Not exactly setting up as the best motivational speech!

But the turn it takes from there is what I’ve come to adopt as a central theme in my life. I wanted to share it with you now, and hope its message could resonate and positively impact you.

Our Careers Are a Game of Inches

Pacino goes on to share his brilliant opening to the heart of the speech:

“Life’s this game of inches… the inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second…”

His point in setting this up is truly a masterpiece lesson in self-awareness, one of the bedrock, foundational elements of emotional intelligence. The opportunity to awaken our senses to the fact that the greatest advances in life start “local.” We can begin to do great things right where we are! He then adds:

“Because we know when we add up all those inches, that’s going to make the difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!”

A little dramatic? I used to think so. And heck, I guess in some ways I still do. But, there’s so much truth and power in his speech. Heart and Soul. There are so many things all of us…