As I watch the Olympics I can't help but notice a recurring theme. This is not a revelation, but it is just so apparent - the best athletes always talk about the sacrifices they have made to get to the top. None of them talk about how lucky they were to be able to skip practice, get up late and eat whatever they wanted and still win gold. Rather they reference what they had to give up to get to the Olympics. Many don't talk about exactly what it was, instead they allude to all the things they gave up and we are left assuming it was nights out with friends, vacations with family, ice cream and chocolate for dessert; stuff like that. And clearly they choose one focus, skiing the downhill, tackling moguls, ice skating or ice dancing, etc. They immerse themselves in the one discipline and add whatever other weight training or cardio training will help them achieve their goal.
What strikes me is that the same is true for those who are successful at business. It is consistent dedication to a particular niche that gets people to the top of their field. It is a fine tuned focus that enables people to become the expert, to become the one to follow if you want to know what's happening in a particular field or industry. It is also the discipline to "fit it all in" that helps those people appear to be everywhere and get everything done (blogging, writing books, speaking, handling clients, etc.).
The lesson are these:
- find the one thing you are truly best at (and preferably enjoy doing)
- determine what it would take to get to the top (or at least be a gold medal contender)
- set aside specific time each day to fine tune your craft
- set aside additional time each day to fine tune those extra activities that will help you be better (social networking, speech writing, etc.)
- when you're ready, put yourself out there and go for it with gusto!
Finally, don't be afraid of failure. All of the top athletes on the podiums have slipped, tripped, fallen, and been injured and may have even had some doubt, but somehow their belief in themselves truly never wavered and they continued to sacrifice and put in the time necessary to get to the top.
Great life and business lessons from the Winter Olympics. Thanks athletes!