One Powerful “Gold Medal” Winning Habit To Ensure You Always Achieve Your Goals
My mind kept wandering while watching the London Olympics to the greatest Olympic moment ever- in my view: a moment of disaster and of triumph- a moment I share regularly with anyone who will listen. It’s a moment with an incredibly powerful message for life, and for success. Here it is.
I got so motivated by the Olympics that I put down the chocolate bar, bought a stop watch and went up to the local oval to time my 400 meter ‘sprint’. Nearly killed me. First go- 2 minutes 12 seconds. Second go- 2 minutes 2 seconds. Third go- there was no third go.
But when I think about the greatest Olympic champion of all, I think not of Bolt, or Phelps, but of an unknown Australian who achieved gold by doing one thing- and one thing alone. It’s an incredibly critical lesson to achieving your goals, and to success. Here’s what he did:
He did not give up.
That’s right. He persisted. That’s how Steven Bradbury won the 1,000 meter short track speed event at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. With one minute to go, Steven was coming stone last, and there was seemingly no chance he’d catch the winners. Did he give up? No. He persisted. Relentlessly. What happened? Check out this video. It’s a classic.
Walt Disney once said: “The only difference been winning and losing is most often not quitting.”
Persistence is a key to achieving your goals and making progress.
You will always get set backs. But persist. Persevere. “Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” So wrote Tom Morris in his great book, ‘True Success.’ “We need a stubborn consistency in pursuing our vision, a determined persistence in thought, and action.”
There will always be barriers. If some rocks cannot be removed, go round them. Just like a stream does. But make it a habit to persist, relentlessly, in moving forward towards your goals. Do not give up. Pick yourself up…and keep going.
Just about every successful person (however THEY define success, and how YOU define it) says ‘persistence’ has underpinned their journey. Are you persisting- consistently- against your goals?
The weird thing is that Bradbury won the race exactly as he expected to. No kidding. He got through the quarter finals through someone getting disqualified. His strategy for the semis was to follow the leaders and hope someone crashed. They did. He came second. And in the final he knew he was not nearly as fast as the others, so he carefully followed. Hoping for a crash. And so it came to pass. Gold! ‘Doing a Bradbury’ is now part of the Australian vernacular, meaning an accidental win or unexpected or unusual win.
A German girl emailed me from Berlin, asking for an internship. I replied with a vague next step. She wrote again a few weeks later. I replied outlining the barriers she needed to jump to get the visa and do the interview, make the shortlist (highly unlikely) and then get the internship. (I fabricated some of the hurdles just so she’d go away.)
She called a month later to tell me what she had done and when she hoped to arrive. She asked for a meeting. I told her to call when she arrived, IF she got her visa HA HA. Two months later, she called. She was in Sydney. Could she sit the internship test? Bloody hell- we did not even have such a test. I’d made it up. But I set a meeting time a week later. Then cancelled it the day prior. Phew.
She sent flowers to my secretary. They had coffee. A week later when I looked at my diary for the next day, Emma (the German) was in there for a meeting. Crikey- what now? I met her. She smiled enthusiastically. “I am here! You have been so kind! Fantastic! Thank you. Thank you. “ (I felt a total prick by now, as you can imagine). “What are your goals?” I asked. “Well,” I want a three month paid internship, then I will return to Germany and I want to work for your company there, and then I will apply for a visa to Vancouver and move there and work for your company there.” She got her internship, and months later I was a referee for her application for a job with Ogilvy in Germany- which she got. Then I did not hear from her for three years. Until last week that is- an email from her new Ogilvy related role in Vancouver, where she had emigrated. Persistence. It really does pay off.
Russell Tate was one of the founders of what is today the STW Group. He retired from the Board a couple of years ago. He had this great quote framed on his wall. It’s the actual picture. He left it in our Board Room for us all to keep being reminded of when he left.