I typed the title of what I thought would be this post into this document. I then grabbed my phone and looked at the Notes app on it where the concept for the post was written. It often works that way. I get an idea, grab my phone, type in the idea in Notes, and then go on my way.

Later, I will come back to the Notes to see the various things I have typed in there. Sometimes they are book ideas, blog post ideas, or quotes for my “Great Quotes for Coaches” podcast. Sometimes they are reminders, lists, and errands to run.

As I scrolled through the notes looking for the topic I was going to write today, I saw the note that I had in there that led to last week’s post called, “How You Do the Little Things.” I told you in that post that it came from a quote I heard from former NFL quarterback, Trent Dilfer.

As I clicked on the note in my phone, I realized that I relayed the quote incorrectly to you. In fact, in the post last week and in my podcast episode this past Monday, I talked about how I thought maybe I had done just that in the post — stated his exact quote incorrectly.

However, I not only stated it incorrectly. My fix of the quote, the one that I told you he probably said, was also incorrect. I was off on both counts.

Dilfer’s exact quote, the way I wrote it in my notes was this — “How you do small things is how you do all things.”

Oh my! I was so wrong with the way I restated it.

In the post and podcast episode, I said Dilfer said, “How you do the little things is how you do everything.”

I then said that I may have been off a little bit on how he said it. I said he may have actually said, “How you do anything is how you do everything,” because that is closer to the actual quote by Martha Beck, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”

Chill Out, Dude!

Some of you may be thinking, “Scott, chill out. It’s no big deal. They all mean the same thing.”

You may be right. But I can’t chill out about it. You see, I am a writer, creator, teacher, coach, speaker, leader. I am a person who uses words to create ideas and to help people improve at things and grow and develop and find the success they seek. Words matter!

More importantly, THE RIGHT WORDS MATTER!

Choosing the right words matters to get at exactly the point you are trying to make. The difference between words that convey a meaning and the absolute right words to convey the absolute right meaning is huge.

But the other thing about this situation, is I was quoting someone! I was saying that someone said something, and then I put the wrong words in his mouth. That is inexcusable.

Look at what he actually said. “How you do small things is how you do all things.”

That is absolutely awesome! The way he worded that is so much better than the way I said he said it last week. There is a flow, a rhythm, and even a rhyme to that line that makes it so much better than what I said he said. It also enhances the meaning he is trying to get across.

I took an amazing line that he said, that carried so much more power than what I said he said, and I butchered it.

So, Mr. Dilfer, if you ever read this post or my post last week, please accept my apology. You did an amazing job with the words you chose to use on your commentary, as you do pretty much every time I hear you on “The Herd.”

I, on the other hand, did not.

Not Doing What He Said

Here’s the other thing. Look at what his words are saying. Then look at what I did. I 100% didn’t do what he was talking about the importance of doing. I did not take care of the “small things.” I did not even scroll through my phone prior to writing the post to see “exactly” what Trent Dilfer said. Why?

Because I already knew in my mind what he said. Never mind that what I did the moment I heard him say it is I put it into my own words because I had said something similar to it for so long that I just naturally put it into those words instead.

Shame on me! Who am I to take the words of someone else and then turn around and put my own words into what was said because it’s what I have said for so long? That is wrong in so many ways. While it’s not plagiarism — taking someone else’s words and saying they are yours — so it is not illegal, it is almost like “reverse-plagiarism.” I took someone else’s words, inserted my own in them, and then attributed it to them.

Of course, I didn’t mean to do any of it. I just wanted to tell you about a very cool quote I heard a guy deliver that I liked (and have always liked another quote similar to it) and then I wanted to talk about it. My intention was positive and honorable. It came from a good place.

My execution of it was the problem.

You Call That Discipline?

Here’s the final irony of it all. In looking at my notes, I saw that I wrote that Dilfer was talking about “discipline and Tom Brady’s approach” to how he plays football.

Discipline. That’s what the note that I wrote said the quote was about. And it is.

And then I went and just wrote my post and misquoted the guy because I lacked the discipline to go through and check my notes on it before I sat down and started typing.

The word “discipline” keeps coming into my life in so many ways. The more I do this — coach, teach, write, speak, communicate, live — the more I realize that, after integrity, discipline may be the single most important characteristic for us to possess on our quest for success. I will be focusing on the concept a lot more in future posts, books, and podcast episodes, for I find it to be such a key component of all that we need to do to become the best we’re capable of becoming.

But for now, I will just have to live with the fact that when it came to discipline last week, and transcribing a short, yet powerful, quote that I heard from a man that I respect greatly, I fell way short.

Time will tell if I learned my lesson. But I know that every day, I will be given new opportunities to be disciplined in my pursuit of the success I seek in life. The next test is right around the corner.

Let’s hope I don’t butcher it!