Recently I was able to take a long weekend in Florida- which is a must during the winter if you happen to live in my home state of Michigan. As I was relaxing and unplugging from the matrix in my chair on the beach I noticed a young man setting up some cones in the sand preparing to do some speed and agility drills.


I had recently watched a program on ESPN that showed the various drills used at the upcoming NFL combines that teams and coaches used to evaluate talent for the spring draft. The times and feats of strength that are measured during these drills can make the difference between being considered for the draft, or quite possibly not being drafted at all.


I immediately recognized this young man’s drill as one used to measure the ability of a wide receiver. Trust me when I tell you that completing one of these drills at the speed and skill of this young man would be enough exercise for most of us in an entire day.


I watched this young man, barefoot in the sand, run the various drills over and over again. With the sun beating down and no one to cheer him on he kept at it again and again working so hard to make those slight improvements that could mean the difference between success and failure.


What really struck me was that there was no one else there with him. No coach or trainer. No other friend or teammate. No parent, grandparent or relative, just this lone young man driven with a mission and a purpose.


I was so impressed with his discipline to keep going and to give each drill his complete effort and focus. He never once dogged it, or simply went through the motions. Every effort was concentrated and on-purpose and the only person holding him accountable to that standard was himself.


I started thinking about the organizations that I serve and wondered what type of effort that the individuals working for these organizations were willing to put forth. What skills are they practicing to perfect and improve upon, and how are they measuring their success.


The organizations that request my services are willing to invest in their people which demonstrates their level of commitment to them. Yet I wonder at times what we as individuals are doing to invest in ourselves? Are we putting in the time required to perfect our craft, learn a new skill or create value in ways not written in a job description?


Most importantly ask yourself am I willing to put in the long and lonely hours necessary to be successful. Can I   hold myself accountable to a high standard, especially when no one is watching or there is no one there cheering me on?


One thing I’ve learned over the years is there is no such thing as an over-night success. In my experience success only comes through years of hard work, sweat, dedication, and perseverance. In a day of instant gratification it was truly inspiring to see someone willing to work so hard for a goal that may never come to fruition.


I’ve always believed that having a goal is important, but the achievement of the goal isn’t what truly matters, it’s the person we get to become in pursuit of the goal that makes all the difference. This I believe will serve this young athlete whether he makes the roster of an NFL team of not.


On my way back up to the hotel I thanked this young man. He glanced up at me with a confused smile, having no clue why he’d just been thanked and then quietly went back to his drills. Unknowingly he had reminded me that success comes from a willingness to set up your cones in the sand, remove your shoes, and quietly, with no fanfare, all by yourself, get down to the business of perfecting your business.


Thoughts for the week:


A dream doesn’t come to reality by magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.- Colin Powell


Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come. –Dwayne Johnson


Everybody wants to be famous, but nobody wants to do the work. At the end of the day, you put all the work in and eventually it’ll pay off. It could be in a year, it could be in 30 years. – Kevin Hart


It’s easy to make promises, it’s hard work to keep them. – Boris Johnson


Enjoy your sweat because hard work doesn’t guarantee success, but without it you don’t have a chance. –Alex Rodriguez


Young people are threatened… by the evil use of advertising techniques that stimulate the natural inclination to avoid hard work by promising the immediate satisfaction of every desire. – Pope John Paul II


Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it. –Marva Collins


Looking forward to our next conversation