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I can watch a gardening and home renovation show and learn a couple of new handyman tips, but I won’t really get better until I start to apply my new knowledge.
I can watch a cooking show and be intrigued by a new recipe, but I can’t say that I have mastered it until I’ve tried it a few times.
I can go to an awesome sales seminar and pick up some amazing tips on how to generate leads and close sales, but I’m not a better salesperson until I apply these skills with real people.
I can witness a brilliant speaker and preacher talk about how to live a better life, but I don’t actually have a better life until I utilise what I’ve heard.
Ikenga was the silverback leader of a band of gorillas.
One day, he called his young son, Eto, to come to him.
“Eto, one day you will be the leader of this family,” he said, “So you will need to build your strength so that you can defend them from enemies.”
“Thank you papa Ikenga, I will make sure that I eat much fruit and grow to be as big and strong as you.”
“Good boy Eto, but there is one other thing that you must do to gain the strength that you need. You must fight me.”
“I can’t fight you,” protested the young gorilla. “You’re much too big and strong.”
“Yes, I am,” said the silverback, who smacked his son around the ear, sending him hurtling to the ground.
Eto scampered away to his mother, rubbing his ear and looking over his shoulder suspiciously at his dad.
A few weeks later, Ikenga called Eto over again.
Karen and I recently took the kids to a shark and ray centre, a terrific local venue where we could enter enclosures and hand feed a variety of shark and ray species.
It was a lot of fun and the kids absolutely loved it.
As we interacted with these remarkable animals, I reflected on one of my favourite species in the animal kingdom, the iconic manta ray.
These giant, gentle rays, which can grow to as big as 7 metres wide, seem to fly through the water. They soar, unhurried over the oceans, feeding as they go.
As other fish flit from place to place in a mad panic, these noble creatures just float about their busyness, seemingly impervious to the pressures of ocean life.
As I considered these beautiful rays, I wondered if I shouldn’t be more like them.
Confidence is one of those rare commodities that successful people seem to have in spades.
And then there are people who are very low in self-belief who struggle to get anywhere in life.
As I considered how to get more confidence and better results, I wondered to myself, “What comes first?”
Do you need confidence to get results?
Or do you feel good about yourself because things have gone well for you?
And what if you lack both, so you don’t know where to start?
After the captain of the Gold Coast Suns, Gary Ablett, won his second Brownlow medal as the best and fairest player in the AFL, his coach, Guy McKenna made the comment, “To be a champion you’ve got to mimic one and I think they’ve got one amongst them.”
The Suns are a very young team and their coach understands that by having one of the all-time greats training and playing with this squad has massive benefits. Talent doesn’t rub off, but work ethic and attitude does, and this is why Ablett adds value far beyond his extraordinary performances on the field.
I know that it’s important to pave your own way, but one of the keys to success is to find a role model to follow.
I know that for me personally, I’ve learned a lot about public speaking from watching and listening to some of the best. I’m been able to glean a few ideas from them about stage presence, story telling and speaking without notes that have added significant value to my speaking.
Advertising genius David Ogilvy once said, “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.”
It’s a great reminder that when an opportunity comes your way, give it everything that you’ve got.
Don’t just give it a little tap.
Don’t try to get away with the smallest hit possible to keep the ball in play.
Don’t do the bare minimum.
Give it a big swing.
You don’t ask for greatness
You can’t just go to a counter in the local shop and buy it.
You can’t order it online and no fairy godmother is going to magically grant it to you.
You have to earn it.
You have to sweat, bleed and work for it.
Think for a moment about all of those people who:
- doubt your abilities
- said that you wouldn’t amount to anything
- think that you can’t achieve remarkable deeds
- rejected you
- openly and privately criticised you
- think that you’re a little bit crazy for pursuing your dreams
- believe that you don’t have the necessary drive, personality or talent to make a positive contribution.
I recently watched an interview with Australian country singer, Keith Urban, and he was asked if he ever had a plan B or if being a professional musician was his only option in life.
He responded, “If the dream is real, it’s uncrushable.”
What a great reminder.
If you have a dream, a goal or an aspiration, don’t let yourself be discouraged by setbacks or criticism.
If there is an idea or product that you want to create, don’t give up after one or two (or 500) prototypes that don’t work.
Life is too short to be miserable and there are too many marvellous opportunities all around us to be focused on the negatives.
So let me ask you, do you look forward to every day or do you dread it?
Do you love your job or do you loathe it?
Are you so involved and focused on your work that you lose track of time or are you constantly watching the clock?
Do you see every week as an opportunity to do amazing work or another block of time to grit your teeth and make it through?
Are you optimistic about the future or fearful about it?