Who wants to sit on the sidelines? It’s all about competition!

Exciting photo of the treadmill after logging three miles in under 24 minutes tonight.

Colin Cowherd hit the nail on the head this morning.  He was discussing people who talk about winning the lottery and what their responses tell you about them.

People who say they would retire and travel aren’t really living, Cowherd said.  They’re just watching life go by.  If he wins, he’s buying an MLS team and competing.

“Who wants to be on the sidelines?  Do you want to watch the game or be in the game?”

“Come on!  We’re guys!  We should want our at bats!  You think Jeter wants out of the game?  Jeter wants up at bat when he’s 50.  He wants to compete when he’s 80.

“Life is getting up at bat when you’re Jeter at 41.  Or you’re Kobe in five years getting paid the league minimum so he can hit another jumper.  That’s life.  You’re a guy.  Not a mama’s boy.  Compete.  Have fun.”

Compete! 

No kidding, man.

It’s about competition.  I love that.  Wherever I’ve gone that’s what motivates me.  Wanting to win.  To best either myself or whoever I’m competing against.

No Olympic-breaking time for me tonight.  But running three miles in under 24 minutes is a big improvement.  I couldn’t run a 10 minute mile three months ago.  I ran one mile in 7:19 last night.  My goal is under 6:30.  And three miles in under 21 minutes.  All achievable this year.

Traffic Alert

Same goes professionally.  How can we continue to achieve?  And beat the competition?

Like when we really cranked up traffic last year as the Nieman Journalism Lab reported:

In the last several months, latimes.com has seen record traffic numbers, outpacing its own internal numbers and marking pageview gains while other news organizations have seen slight decreases. In March the site had over 160 million pageviews; in May it was 189 million. And according to numbers supplied by Nielsen and comScore, latimes.com was one of the few top newspaper sites to see a year-over-year increase in uniques in June, up 5.4 percent compared to decreases of 9 percent for the Washington Post, 18.8 percent for The New York Times, and 20.5 percent for the Wall Street Journal.

That doesn’t mean the L.A. Times is going to lap The New York Times or the Huffington Post when it comes to reader counts. But the numbers are still impressive, and more so when you consider the secret sauce at the heart of it all: a full embrace of blogging that adds voice in some corners, emphasizes timeliness in others, and has opened new doors for reader engagement. On latimes.com, news is geting the blog treatment and blogs are getting the news treatment. “Most of our blogs are reported stories,” said Jimmy Orr, managing editor/online for the Times. “What we’re seeing is big increases in our blogs, and that’s where a lot of the breaking news is.”

That’s fun.  It was great.  Month after month after month.  Beating prior records and becoming the second most read major newspaper site in America.  It’s a blast.

Morale builder

It was the same thing that at the Christian Science Monitor or at the White House or at Schwarzenegger’s office or the other places I worked.  Always setting up tangible goals and beating them.

Goals are great.  They force focus.  And once you hit a goal, it has a widespread positive effect.  When we really started generating traffic at the Monitor, people got excited:

Several noted the greater traffic infused the newsroom with a new sense of relevance. “This revival has been a real morale booster for yours truly,” said one staffer who had been with the paper for more than 20 years. “For a long time, I felt like I was on a losing team. Not losing in the sense of — we had a strong product. But it didn’t have much reach.”

Trailblazing

Same thing happened at other places too.  When we overhauled Gov. Schwarzenegger’s online efforts, it was universally praised.  And that had a big effect on the staff.

“The multipronged approach underscored how California’s governor appears to be reshaping the look and feel of political communications by offering “the best integrated use of live interactive (technology) that I know of in the country by any politician,” says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg School of Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.”

“The live interactivity is what’s innovative — and it’s happening in California first,” she says. “There are moments in which the technologies are ready and the politician finds the technology — and this is one of them.”

Goals are Key

The successes all started with goals.  Gotta have the goal first.  Success doesn’t just happen.  You have to make it happen.

Cowherd is right.  No living on the sidelines.  We should want our at bats.

Follow me on Twitter: @jimmyorr

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