Lessons For Becoming A Winner On And Off The Job

There comes a time to move from deliberation to decision and from consideration to commitment.

A while ago, my wife Chris and I were hiking with our friends Mike and Jan Saarela in Glacier National Park. As luck would have it, we found a cafe on the edge of the park that advertised “Good, Old-Fashioned, Home Cooking.”

When we had finished our meal, the waitress asked what she could get us for dessert. She said, “You really should try a piece of pie. My sister is the cook, and she bakes the best pies west of the Mississippi. In fact, we’ve got 23 different varieties.”

So of course we had to try the pie. And it was the best pie we had had in years.

So I asked the waitress, “How did your sister become so good at making pies?”

In a few minutes, she returned with her sister, who had the happiest smile I had ever seen. It was obvious she enjoyed her work and took great satisfaction when her cooking was appreciated.

So Mike and Jan asked her, “How do you bake such great tasting pie?”

“Experience,” she replied. “It’s all in knowing how much of each ingredient to put in, and baking it for just the right length of time. My Pa always said, ‘when you learn to do something right, and enjoy doing it, stick with it.’ I love baking. Always have. Sure, I’ve made a few losers. But never twice. When I make something good, that people like, I stick with it. Like my pies. I’ve been perfecting my pies for twenty-three years now.”

“Well your pies are so good,” we told her, “that we’ll take one with us.” And even though I hate to admit this, her pies were SO-O-O-O good that we stopped by her cafe to buy another pie every day for the next seven days. We wanted to try some of her other flavors — and we had no problem consuming an entire pie each day.

That lady, the baker, was a winner in every sense of the word. And she had several lessons for all of us who want to become “winners” on and off the job. First …

=> Find Out What You’re Good At And Enjoy.

It was one of the baker’s “secrets”. So you might ask yourself, “Have you discovered what you’re really good at? And have you figured out what you really enjoy doing?” You only live once, and it would be a horrendous shame if you lived your whole life and never figured out the answer to those two questions. That’s why we work on those two questions the very first hour of my two-day program called “The Journey To The Extraordinary.”

In fact, as an author and speaker, I’m constantly being asked about the “secrets” of success. And indeed there are some “secrets,” but I decided to lay them all out on the table for you. That’s why I put together a free Guided Tour of “The Journey.”

The moral of the baker’s story … she had discovered one of the “secrets” of success. She figured out what she was good at AND enjoyed doing. And she’s living a wonderful life and enjoying a fine career as a result.

I find that too many people miss the boat on this secret. Some never discover what they’re good at.

What about you? Have you figured out your gifts? You are GIFTED in some way.

And other people might be good at something — such as their jobs — but they don’t really enjoy it. What a waste!!! I can’t think of anything more demoralizing than spending five, ten, or even thirty years doing something you hate.

If you’re going to be truly successful, you must have both. You must find out WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT … and … WHAT YOU ENJOY. Then do it.

That’s one of the first secrets of success. A second one says,

=> Do Your Best With What You Have.

I agree with Erma Bombeck when she wrote, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left … but would say, ‘I used everything you gave me!'”

In other words, success is not measured by being the very best at something. That would leave most of us out. Success is measured by doing your best with what you have.

Joe Frazier, the professional boxer, showed us that. What many people do not know is that Joe had a “handicap.” His left arm was injured when he was a small boy. The injury left him unable to completely extend his left arm.

As John Shumay, a former amateur boxer, told me, “I can tell you with confidence that one of the most important assets a boxer has is his left-hand jab. The jab is not only an indispensable defensive weapon, but it is the cornerstone of a boxer’s offense. At the incredibly competitive and dangerous world-class level of professional boxing, a left-hand jab is crucial.”

If you watch the way Joe Frazier fought, you see that Joe did not effectively utilize his left jab. The limited range of motion of his left arm was not suited to the jab. Instead, he DID THE BEST HE COULD WITH WHAT HE HAD.

So as a boy, punching a bag of sand, he threw thousands of left hooks — a punch for which his left arm was suited. He also believed that if he could develop superior endurance, he could win in the ring.

What resulted from Joe’s perseverance, tireless hard work, and willingness to adapt, was the rise of a great champion. Joe combined his lethal left hook with a fearless and unrelenting style to rise to the top of the boxing world.

When Joe Frazier fought Mohammed Ali, he was up against the best left jab anyone had ever seen. Nonetheless, for 15 rounds, Frazier stalked Ali, firing his deadly left hook while tirelessly bobbing under Ali’s lightning-fast punches. Joe wore down Ali, actually dropping him to the canvas with his wicked left hook late in the fight. Although Ali was able to fight to the end, he was unable to sustain an effective offense. Joe Frazier became the Heavyweight Champion of the World and one of the most respected fighters to ever step into the ring.

Frazier did the best he could with what he had. What about you? Are you doing the best with what you have? Many people aren’t.

In fact, lots of people compare their talent to someone else’s and when they find themselves lacking, they give up. It’s the student who thinks, “I’ll never be as smart as Theodore, so why even bother to try.” And so he doesn’t even use the talent that he does have.

Or it’s the salesperson who thinks, “I’ll never be in the top 10% of this company’s sales force, so why should I be working so hard. I’ll just get by, and that’s good enough.”

No it isn’t. If you don’t make the best of what you do have, you’ll have even less — LESS SELF-ESTEEM, LESS SELF-RESPECT, LESS SUCCESS, and less of everything else that might be valuable.

You have the power to be incredibly successful if you know and follow the secrets of success. I’ve just given you two of them. Now it’s time to apply them.

Action:  Write down 20 things you’re really good at. Write down 20 things you really enjoy. And draw a line between each item that you’re both good at and enjoy doing.

Now ask yourself “Are you spending enough time on the areas that are connected by a line?” If not, it’s time to start.