To be a success at anything in life I have found that you need three basic things: a passion for what you are doing, the ability to work tremendously hard, and a total commitment to excellence. I have yet to find anyone that is considered a success in their field that is missing one of these key ingredients.
As a YPO (Young President's Organization) member I have been fortunate enough to meet and work with some amazing entrepreneurs and business leaders. Recently a YPO friend of mine was interviewed on Inc.com. David Morrow is an incredible entrepreneur and has the three traits mentioned above in spades. As an All-American lacrosse player for Princeton he started Warrior Sports in his dorm room to solve a problem, he kept bending his lacrosse stick. He now leads a $200 million a year global business. I have never spent time with him where I did not walk away having learned something important while at the same time being impressed with his complete passion for what he does and his drive to be the best.
In this short video clip, Inc.com asks Dave about the benefits of manufacturing in the US vs. China and even though not asked directly about these traits, you can quickly see them highlighted in his answer. I love his quote, "Your product is the heart and soul of your brand. You have to ensure it is excellent." He built Warrior Sports on a commitment to excellence and that is why when anyone wants to purchase the best lacrosse and hockey equipment in the world they look for the name WARRIOR.
So how do you learn to develop a world-class work ethic, commitment to excellence, and passion for what you do like Dave? I believe that passion for what you do comes from deep inside and you either have it or you don't. It is very hard to inspire someone who dislikes his or her job one day to love it the next. If you don't have passion for what you do, then I suggest you go find something that you LOVE. When you accomplish this, you will never again “work” a day in your life.
These traits can be developed over time with the right mentors while modeling what they do. To be honest, I only want to work with people who display these qualities. Being a part of a team where this is commonplace is exciting. Anything becomes possible! Before long you will have created a “virtuous cycle” of improvement and a culture of excellence. I am also a firm believer that continuous learning and self improvement is important and there is no better place to start than to learn from the leaders in their respective fields.
This Friday I will attend the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast in Atlanta where leaders like Soledad O'Brien, Tim Tebow, Patrick Lencioni, Marcus Buckinham, Urban Myer, Roland Fryer, Angela Ahrendts, John Maxwell, Andy Stanley, and Sheena Iyengar will be speaking. This is a world-class event with world-class leaders who are recognized by everyone as being some of the best in their fields. I look forward to hearing what they have to share and I know I will walk away having been motivated to grow and develop as a leader for my organization.
So whether you are taking “The Leap” and starting your own venture, changing careers, or looking for that thing that you are totally passionate about to invest your life in, make sure you have a tremendous work ethic and total commitment to excellence in all you do and you will be successful in any endeavor you tackle.
Andy Stanley, Angela Ahrendts, Bob Dickie, Bob Dickie III, Career Direct, Chick-Fil-A, Crown, Crown Financial Ministries, entrepreneur, excellence, Hockey, John Maxwell, Lacrosse, leader, leaders, Marcus Buckinham, mentors, Patrick Lencioni, Robert Dickie, Robert Dickie III, Roland Fryer, Sheena Iyengar, Soledad O'Brien, The Leap, Tim Tebow, Urban Myer, venture, Warrior, Warrior Sports, Young President's Organization, YPO
This is a great post by author Sarah Lacy. I've read a number of her books and for anyone interested in the tech industry she is the insider who has done an incredbile job writing about it. This article I felt was very insightful. See what Sarah has to say about all this.
Seth Godin just launched an iPhone app for his blog. Check out his posts from the past few days and how he is marketing this. He continues to be an industry leader and change agent worth following every day.
This is a great post by Seth Godin. We are taught at an early age of the risk/reward equation. Some people have no concept of the risk and fly by the seat of their pants in everything they do daring fate to punish them. Others are so risk adverse they aren't willing to push the limit on anything. I think finding a healthy middle ground like everything in life is important. Yes, the greater the risk the greater the reward.
In Jr. High if you ask the most popular girl out you run the risk of getting rejected and being laughed at or you could end up being the coolest kid in school because you had the guts to do what no other guy would do. On Wall Street the biggest risk investments are the ones that if they go right have the biggest rewards. There isn't a big risk in T-Bills (back in the day) and therefore the gains were next to nothing. It was the safe bet with little risk and little reward. Everything in life in some way has a risk/reward equation. The key is to make sure you have some good advisors to help you weigh the cost, understand the risk, and even coach you through.
For example, there is high risk if I try to climb Mt. Rainier by myself but if I hire the best guide service in the world (IMG) run by the best climbers in the world then the risk is greatly reduced. The reward is the same but by being smart and surronding myself with the right people I can manage and reduce the risk. Nothing in life worth doing is without risks. The challenge is to fully understand the risk, manage the risk, and don't blindly walk of the edge becuase you didn't have all the right information.
The below excerpt was written and posted by Seth Godin today on his blog. You can read his daily updates at this link. I highly encourage you to do this. I love the thought behind his comment today? Do we deserve what we have? What are we doing each day to maximize our potential for ourselves and our families? Maybe you are in a situation and you know you can do better...better job, better relationship, or better physical fitness. What is stopping you from starting today and moving on in the direction of your dreams to that better life? Scared? Join the club. Change is scary no matter what you are doing...starting a new fitness program or exiting a bad relationship. Guess what, the worse part is sitting there thinking about it and not making a decision. Once you act it is amazing how easy it is and you always look back and say, "Wow, I am glad I made that decision!"
As Seth says, what if you are in a situation where you are truly blessed but aren't really doing anything with it. You have a great job, great relationship, wonderful children, physically fit and healthy. What then? A life of fulfillment does not come with the accumulation of material things for your personal use. True happiness and fulfillment comes from being able to help others and make a difference in the world around you. The funny thing is the more you do this the more the material wealth comes your way. If you haven't tried doing this, start today. Make it your mission to give value to those around you in your life. Help others, practice random acts of kindness, and do what you can to make the world a better place around you. Your true value is measured by how many people's lives you touch and have impact on. The book "The Go-Giver" highlights this principle and says your value and worth rises in direction proportion with more people you influence and help. That is an amazing thought. Do you want to raise your value...start helping others and see where it leads you.
Do you deserve it?
By: Seth Godin
Do you deserve the luck you've been handed? The place you were born, the education you were given, the job you've got? Do you deserve your tribe, your customer base, your brand? Not at all. “Deserve” is such a loaded word. Most of us don’t deserve the great opportunities we have, or the lucky breaks that got us here. The question shouldn’t be, “do you deserve it.” I think it should be, “what are you going to do with it now that you've got it?"
Seth Godin’s blog post from a few days ago talking about the 4% difference maker really had me thinking. I know what he was trying to say but I really don’t think he is on point here. I can only surmise he was trying to let his readers know that the small things really matter....that the small little details can add up to the big gains that can make the difference between winning and losing no matter what type of competition you may find yourself in.
Here is why I think he is wrong. I spent the better part of 16 years of my live as a very competitive athlete in high school, college, and post collegiately. I had the opportunity to train with a number of athletes who went on to make olympic teams in their respective sports. Reviewing their training and comparing it to mine here is what I found. I don't think if I had trained 4% harder over those years I would be an olympian today. Let me use my good friend, Tony Cosey, as an example. Tony was a multiple time All-American at the University of Tennessee in cross country and track and made the 2000 olympic team in the steeple chase. I too was a runner at the University of Tennessee and ran the steeple chase. There were many weeks that in my training log I ran as many miles as Tony and did exactly what he did however, I never made an olympic team. If I use Seth’s analogy too literally I might mistakenly assume that if I had done 4% more maybe I would have made it to the olympics. I know this not to be the case. Let's take pure talent out of the equation. I believe the biggest difference maker is consistency. Tony followed the same routine and worked hard day in and day out for years and consistently was able to do this better than anyone I knew and thus over time the results speak for themselves.
There are hundreds of athletes around the country today that can run the same workouts and run the same miles that Tony ran and they will never be an olympian. The difference is because Tony had the drive and work ethic to have a dream and consistently work to achieve that goal every day until he did while others got side tracked, tired, and quit. I don’t say this to take away from his great talent or his God given ability. I just think his tenacious consistency to his goal was far more important that him doing 4% more work than me or his competitors.
My dad always taught me growing up that champions consistently do what non-champions are not willing to do. I think many times it is the little details, the small things, that add up to be the big difference maker. I think this is what Seth Godin was trying to say. To me, if you are on the right track in sports or in your career it is the ability to consistently stay there and do those things that will in the long run make you a champion. Everyone wants to win on the day of the race but it is the person who puts in the hard work and preparation months in advance that will eventually come out victorious. Maybe this is just semantics and we are saying the same thing or my thesis could be entirely wrong. What is your opinion?
Here is an article that I think you all will enjoy. It was forwarded to me by our Chief Legal Counsel Kevin Thompson who was an All-American decathlete at the University of Tennessee. This was written by author Malcolm Gladwell and this really hits the point home. This comes from his new book Outliners and I think you all will enjoy it. He comes to the conclusion that "outliners" are made through consistency over time which equates to 10,000 hours of work. This is really interesting to see how he put this all together using people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mozart.