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Successful People Do the Icky Stuff
Those darn successful people. It always seems like they’re luckier, richer, better looking, and smarter. It’s just not fair. Why do they get all the breaks? Why can’t I drive the nice luxury car, spend long weekends at a posh vacation home, and have my kids respect and admire me like those successful people?
It’s easy to explain the other person’s success away as the result of their luck, intelligence, or marriage into the right family. While those factors occasionally boost someone up to a higher success plane, there’s usually more to it than that. We see the nice clothes, the exclusive neighborhood, and the country club membership and envy the person who has ‘made it.’
What we fail to see, however, is the years of sacrifice and long hours it took Mr. Successful to achieve that status. It’s the guy who was a competitor on the kickboxing circuit, and on the side, sold karate uniforms out of the back of his van. Twenty-five years later, he has a successful, global martial arts equipment company. Sure, it’s impressive now, but he paid his dues struggling to put gasoline in his van to get to the next tournament. He put in the long hours training to compete, and at the same time, balanced the books for his fledgling company. We would consider him vastly successful now, but it’s because he did the icky stuff. He made the phone calls. He negotiated the deals with vendors. He hired employees when he wasn’t sure he could afford them. He sweated making the payroll — and occasionally didn’t.
But he persevered. He stayed with it. He did what competitors do. He got back up when he got knocked down. He kept his dream in sight, even if it got a little foggy at times. He got out of bed before other people. He worked late. He worked on the weekends. He lost money part of the time. But he stayed with it. Because that’s what winners do. That’s what Black Belts do.
It’s the Olympic hopeful swimmer who gets up at 4:00 a.m. when it’s 18 degrees outside so she can get a couple of hours of practice before school. It’s the same swimmer who chooses not to go the football game with her friends because she needs to study and she needs to get up early the following morning to drive three hours to a swim meet.
It’s the sales associate who has won top sales award for the last five quarters in a row. Not because he’s smarter or luckier. It’s because he makes two more calls than anyone else on the team — every day. He gets rejected more than anyone else in the company. But he also makes more sales than anyone. Just like Babe Ruth led the league in home runs and, at the same time, led the league in strikeouts.
It’s because he has taken the time to write down his sales goals and the specific steps to achieve them. It’s because he spent weekends going to sales and motivation seminars — on his own dime — in an effort to provide the nice things for his family.
It’s not much fun to get out of a warm bed when it’s easier to hit the snooze button. It’s icky to stay at work late when you’d rather be home watching Monday Night Football. It’s a pain to follow up on sales calls with thank you notes, knowing that only about 8% will result in a sale. It’s hard to put that money aside in your retirement account when your buddy is showing off his new bass boat and going to the lake every weekend. It’s tough to order the grilled chicken salad when your friends are having the chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy.
But ultimately, it’s the accumulation of those icky things that results in your success. The pay raises, the promotions, the personal health, and the accomplishments come after years of disciplined effort. You see the popular new singer on the music charts. Wow, an overnight sensation! What you don’t see is the years she spent traveling, living on macaroni and cheese, playing the dumpy nightclubs, waiting for that big break.
Sure there are a few people who stumble into a fantastic situation with little or no effort on their part. But the vast majority of people we consider successful become that way one day at a time, doing the little things that most people are not willing to do. What will it be for you? How badly do you want it? You get to choose! Will you say, “Forget it, I’m not doing that,” or will you say, “Yuck, this is icky! But I know this is what it takes. And the sooner I get started, the sooner I’ll reach my goal!”
Go do something icky!
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