Success is no accident
How to get good and stay good.
I have figured out that no matter how hard I try I’ll never become an elite sportsman. Now I know it’s said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a world-class expert in a subject, and however true that may be for other people, I know that at 5’10’ and over 200lbs I’ll never become an elite Basketball player.
Yes, I know that there have been some great basketball players my height, and I know that I can diet and lose some weight, but there is one other snag for me. I have appalling hand-eye coordination. At 5’10” I’ll never be a great horse racing jockey either!
Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
I have been a keen amateur violinist for as long as I can remember, sacrificing my Saturdays to play in various local Youth Orchestras while all my mates were out playing football or taking a Saturday job to earn some pocket money. Over the years I have played in some great concerts in some fantastic venues and performed some memorable recitals, and I’ve had a really enjoyable time doing that.
When I was in my late teens I was approached after one particular concert by a local dignitary who offered to invest in my playing, to pay my tuition fees and get me a top class teacher too. After much consideration, I turned the offer down. I knew that to perform at the level that they would expect from me would take not only the tuition that they could provide, but also seriously large amount of practice too, and although I loved playing, I knew that I didn’t love it that much!
Although it’s generally true that all top performers have spent a seriously large amount of time “getting good”, it’s also true to say that spending a seriously large amount of time practising doesn’t guarantee that you’ll become a top performer.
Some years ago when I decided I wanted to lose some weight I started to read quite avidly on the subject. I had books on physiology, I had books on fitness, I had books on diet, I started to read the top tips from people who had “made it” and to learn their secrets of success. Soon I took up cycling and started to put in the miles, and the more I read the more I started to understand. To become a top class sportsman the very first thing you need to do is to select the right parents.
Genetics plays an enormous part in being able to achieve sporting success. Some people will probably make it to the top echelons of their sport even if they’re doing all the wrong things, so if I was going to follow these top tips I was probably not going to find the solution I needed to achieve to my best ability. It was then that I decided to look elsewhere for my inspiration and education, and turned my attention to becoming a cycling coach so that I could draw on tried and tested methods and techniques, rather than some tips from a naturally gifted but misinformed athlete.
“Effective leaders sacrigice much that is good in order to dedicate themselves to what is best.”
~ John Maxwell.
It was then that I learned something about the meaning of sacrifice too. Although I enjoyed playing the violin I wasn’t so passionate that I would enthusiastically dedicate the amount of time I needed to, to achieve the results that would be expected of me. When people talk about top performers they talk about the passion, and the sacrifice, that is involved in achieving their success. And that’s very evident from pretty well all top performers. They talk about giving up what you love, for something that you love even more.
“There can be no success without sacrifice. Anytime you see success, you can be sure someone made sacrifices to make it possible. And as a leader, if you sacrifice, even if you don’t witness the success, you can be sure that someone in the future will benefit from what you’ve given.”
~ John Maxwell
And that’s the difference. You love it even more. You’re passionate about it. You love it so much that you are prepared to sacrifice other things to pursue it. Anyone can sacrifice not doing what they don’t like to do – I don’t have any trouble sacrificing watching soaps on TV or fasting from seafood. You can tell what I am passionate about when I sacrifice tucking into a hearty steak pie and chips (that’s fries to my friends in the US) and select a salad instead, or when I miss one of the annual classic cycle races on TV so that I can write my next blog entry.
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.
He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.