Relentless Discipline. The makings of a GOAT?

We had a team’s meeting the other week and we had to dress up as our favourite sportsperson. There were so many to choose from with so many great athletes past and present. I chose Ellyse Perry, for a variety of reasons: She is Australian, a dual national athlete, an awesome cricketer and great role model.

Others chose Michael Jordan, Koby Bryant, Ash Barty, John McEnroe, Peter Brock as well as a plethora of Aussie swim stars. With the new release of Michael Jordan’s documentary out now, it sparked an inevitable debate as to who was the Greatest of All Time (GOAT).

Is it Jordan v’s Bryant or Le Bron? Perhaps in basketball it is, but Mohamed Ali, Don Bradman, Serena Williams, Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are all names synonymous with GOAT (I am sure there are many others too).

We sat down as a family and watched the first episode of “The Last Dance”. As the documentary progressed I smirked at the commentary of my husband reiterating the main points to my kids…until it got to the point (which it quite often does) “Shhh, I can’t hear what they are saying”.

I sat there in complete intrigue, “Are we going to find out the secrets of how this man became so great?” The main theme that I took away from Episode 1 was that Michael Jordan was greater than the others because he had the most discipline (matched with his drive to succeed), self-belief and focus.

The talent of Michael Jordan cannot be overlooked, but it was his determination and hard work at the forefront of what made him a legend athlete (not just a basketballer).

I have a habit of writing notes after key learnings I have taken away from people who have influenced my life. A note that I have highlighted and had up on the notice wall of my office for a few years now, is from Wayne Pearce (aka Junior, the professional football player before football players became professional), it says “relentless discipline”. I openly admit that there are times that I cringe at myself for not being more disciplined (especially when I get on the scales after Easter!), but I try and do little things each day that will help me achieve my goals.

Of course, I am no where near comparing myself to Michael Jordan, Mohammed Ali and the rest, but I am pointing out there are common themes that can be deducted from the GOATS in this world. They have relentless discipline, Draper (2019) article quotes “If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice”. Success in life depends on what you are willing to sacrifice for it. Contrary to some societal beliefs…you can’t have it ALL! Just like Jordan chose not to stay up all night partying and chose to stay longer at training, he made sacrifices to be the best that he could be…and he wanted to be the BEST!

There have been many studies around what makes people great. In fact, that’s how Stephen Covey came up with the initial 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He studied people who were GOATS to determine what common habits they had.

For GOAT athletes, Taylor (2009) succinctly identifies 5 key characteristics of what makes them great.

  1. Drive: they work as hard as they can and continue each day with relentless discipline.
  2. Confidence: they are not arrogant, but they truly believe they will succeed (even when sometimes they don’t).
  3. Calm: they remain calm under pressure.
  4. Focus: they can block out disturbances such as other competitors, fans, nerves, past mistakes and future rewards.
  5. Emotions: they have mastered their emotions. They know when to get fired up and know when to settle down.

Looking at these attributes linked to GOAT athletes, the great bosses that I have had and the best CEO’s in the business ALL share the same attributes. They were great at what they did because they worked hard, they had the inner confidence (backed themselves no matter what), they had a drive to “get things done” and their passion and ambition was inspirational to their team.

The above five principles sounds simple enough, but in reality, it is a challenge to most. Next time you get side tracked by a funny facebook post or pushing yourself to be the best at 80%..ask yourself this question “Can I give more to achieve my goals and/or be the best that I can be?


Yvette Audet

Yvette Audet

Sport has been an integral part of my life, both work and personal. I grew up with sport, met my husband through sport and now as a mother, am involved more than ever in sport!

As a trainer and consultant in the industry I work with sporting groups and councils to create community facilities and partnerships aimed to increase sport participation.

I have created a range of articles from the perspective of a SPORTING MUM. The articles relate life skills and messages that we can get from being involved in sport. It’s uncanny how Sport can mirror life.


Involved in gymnastics, netball and athletics from an early age, Yvette experienced being part of a team as well as the unrelentless discipline in individual sport – in particular her Heptathlon days.

First became a mum in 2005 and remembers having the inner debate of how long should I play netball while pregnant? Doing quick breastfeeds in between netball games and hoping her uterus wouldn’t feel like falling out when she jumped for the ball.

Funny anecdotes aside, she has worked in the sport and recreation industry for almost 30 years and holds several certificates and degrees around the management and training of sport, community recreation, aquatics and fitness.

Through her various roles in profit and non-profit sectors, she has helped plan for programs, events and facilities to help get communities active through sport and recreation.