Deserving to be Successful
“According to (Winston) Churchill, victory comes only to those who work long and hard, who are willing to pay the price in blood, sweat, and tears. Hard work is also the basic building block of every kind of achievement: Without it, everything else is pointless. You can start with a dream or an idea or goal, but, before any of your hopes can be realized, you truly must deserve your success. This may sound old fashioned in this age of instant gratification, but, from the Sistine chapel to the first transcontinental railroad to today’s space shuttle, there is no mystery as to how these things of wonder were created. They were created by people who worked incredibly hard over a long period of time.” This quote was taken from Rick Pitino’s book, Success is a Choice: Ten Steps to Overachieving in Business and Life. Al Tuchsherer, UFV women’s basketball head coach, brought it to my attention when he sent it out to our team this week.
I have been a part of an amazing basketball team for 8 years. Basketball has given me so much that I cannot even begin to explain its importance in my life. A few highlights of things that I can attribute to basketball are: meeting my wife, getting to know and learn from one of my most inspirational mentors (Al Tuchscherer), learning about strength and conditioning, coaching, team play, hard work, communication skills, and success. And this, as I mentioned, is only a VERY brief list of a few things that basketball has helped me with and lessons it has taught me.
Recently we have been discussing success and what it means to deserve victory. Even though these discussions are usually based in the sports world, they lead me, as always, to think about how this translates into the ‘real’ world in life and business. There are some aspects to sport that allow for very objective and critical analysis that are not always available in “real” life, but the rules for success and deserving victory seem quite similar. What always surprises me in life and in basketball, however, is when people feel that they are entitled to succeed. Entitlement is the belief that, because they are special somehow or different from others in some way, they are going to be successful by putting very little thought or preparation into the process.
I tell customers of mine all the time that I can show them how to get where they say they want to go, but, unless they are willing to put in the work, it is simply not going to happen. In the world of fitness, I know how to get from A to Z, but, if people are only going to put in enough work to get from A-C, guess where they will end up!
I have a customer who has been training at IF Abbotsford for over a year now. He comes in for one session per week. One hour per week of guidance… hardly enough to make a substantial change in his overall fitness if that was all he did. This particular customer, however, has heeded the advice, accepted the guidance, and literally run with all of it. He has lost 60 pounds and is currently training for his first half marathon (to be held in Las Vegas this December). I have absolutely no doubt he will complete the race!
People say to me “Wow, you have done such a good job with him” and I always answer the same way: I did not get up early and go for runs, I did not smack the fork out of his hand when he wanted to eat a bunch of high calorie food, and I certainly did not force him commit to his program. That is all him. It’s his success, not mine. All of it.
I expressed the same thing to our basketball team this week. I told them that we cannot play the game for them. We can show them, based on our expertise, what we feel is the best way, we can offer them guidance and support, but it is up to them to go out and get their success. It is up to them to spend the time in the gym and on the court outside of our practice time. It is up to them to deserve their result. When it all comes out in the end, whether they are successful with a “win” or not, it is still on them. (Sometimes those “losses” – when you’ve played your heart and body out – can teach us as much as victories, but only if you’ve again given it all you have.) If you want to “deserve” success, then you need to earn it - one drop of blood and one drop of sweat at a time
So how do you “”deserve success? You grind it out. One minute to the next and one small step in front of the other until you have climbed that mountain. …“But that won’t happen unless you choose to make it happen. Success is not a lucky break. It is not a divine right. It is not an accident of birth. Success is a choice.” (Rick Pitino).
The question comes down to: what choice will you make?