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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

NO SUCH THING AS AN OVERNIGHT SUCCESS

From my favorite Jon Gordon book, "Training Camp":

There is no such thing as an overnight success. Too many believe in the fantasy that superstar athletes, actors, musicians, doctors, Olympians, and others were born that way or simply stumbled on their success overnight. After all, the best of the best make what they do look so easy that people either think anyone can do it or that there are those who are chosen to do it. This myth is perpetuated by the media. On television we see the successful person performing his craft. We see the concert, the movie, the computer program, the presentation, the game, the play, the miracle surgery, the lecture, the Nobel Prize, the latest discovery, or the Olympic event. We see the end result—the outcome—but what most of us don’t see are the countless hours of sweat, toll, dedication, practice, and preparation that lead to greatness. The golf champion practiced thousands of putts before hitting the one to win the U.S. Open. The tennis champion hit a million backhands before winning Wimbledon. The rock star sang for countless hours before reaching stardom. Technology designers spent thousands of hours to create new and revolutionary products that make our lives easier. The teacher spent a career preparing and practicing ways to better connect with and teach her students before winning a teacher of the year award. The symphony practiced thousands of hours to create music that brought the audience to tears. And the sales team spent a year preparing for the important meeting that landed their biggest client. The ideal of the overnight success is a myth. Just as the Olympian must train for years for one defining race, you must wake up each day and practice, prepare, and train to be your best. Don’t settle for mediocrity, but strive each day for excellence. It requires hard work, preparation, and hours of effort, but it’s worth it.


So if you want to be great you have to commit to a challenging process of preparation. “He’s right,” Coach Ken added. “Yesterday I told you that you had to be willing to pay the price. Well, that price is paid with countless hours of hard work on the field and off the field. In fact, most of our time is actually spent preparing off the field, and it’s not always fun. It’s the same way with every aspect of life. I call it the Game-Day Principle. Five percent of a person’s life is made up of our performance on game day, while 95 percent is made up of the time we are preparing, practicing, and waiting to perform. Think about it: We spend two hours on the field each day for practice and three hours, tops, during game day, and yet we spend thousands of hours in the weight room, training in the off-season conditioning during the week, studying film, memorizing playbooks, the list goes on. The fact is, how we practice and prepare with 95 percent of our time determines how we perform on game day. It requires thousands of hours of practice, dedication, hard work, and focus.”