I was a fat kid (I am not exactly slim now, but that’s another story). Growing up, I was also the youngest kid in my neighborhood. The combination meant that there was a huge amount of pressure on me to fit in and find a niche in my social circle. As a young boy, the most tangible and obvious way to gain status in the group was through sports. Like many of you, the kids I grew up with played almost everything so it was not enough to focus on one sport and excel in that at the expense of all others. While that maxim is popular in today’s business ecosystem (Specialize and thrive) in the tough streets that I roamed (drama and mild sarcasm), you had to be a true ‘Jack of all trades.’
I knew what I had to do and so I set out to accomplish it. I was bound and determined not to be the last kid picked for anything.
Some sports my size gave me advantage (are you picking up on the talent analog here?). I knew that I could spend less time on them and lean on my physical advantage in that space. Other sports, my size meant nothing and in some cases, it was a clear negative. This realization was critical as it made me face the fact at a young age that becoming good at something takes effort. Size (or talent) alone may get you by, but to truly separate yourself from the herd, you have got to work harder than everyone else. This concept is reinforced in almost every feel-good sports film and is as true today as it was at the dawn of time ages ago. (I suppose my ‘dawn of time’ reference would be accurate but it seemed overly dramatic.)
So when evaluating your existing team or new hires, please realize that it takes far more than talent to win at any game. It is simply a bonus if you can get the people that will work hard, be persistent and focus on the basic blocking and tackling to also be exceptionally talented!
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