EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 6 The Sales Playbook
“I do not fear the man with 10,000 kicks. I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee
When you think about the people who have become “the greats” in their lines of work (e.g., Michael Phelps, Leonardo da Vinci, Mozart, and Kobe Bryant), do you ever wonder what made them so successful? Yes, they all have natural talent, but many people are born with talent and never find success, let alone international recognition for their talents. In the fields of swimming, painting, composing music,
and playing basketball, there have been many success stories and many impressive outcomes from a multitude of people over the years. But individuals such as these seem to rise easily above the crowd of their successful peers. Why? Well, they all have something else in common besides talent: they put in more hours honing their skills than anyone else. All of these greats are actually known for the amount of practice and work they made an ongoing part of their careers.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
PREPARATION IS THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Let’s take Michael Phelps for example. When he was training for the Olympics and other races, he practiced three hours per day. Most elite and professional athletes take one day off each week, but Phelps practiced every single day. He realized that by practicing on Sundays, he would get about 50 extra days of practice per year than his competitors. Under the advice of his coach, he also practiced extensively with his goggles full of water. He wanted to be prepared in case his goggles came
loose during a race. If you remember the 200-butterfly at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Phelps’ goggles did fill up with water, something that could easily cost a swimmer the race. But Phelps had practiced that way so much already it was like second nature to him and he won the race without being able to see anything for about the last 100 meters.11 He prepared at a level so far beyond his competitors that in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics he took home eight gold medals, setting a record for
the most golds won by an Olympian in a single year. In 2012, he became the most winning Olympian of all time in any sport, with 22 medals, 18 of them gold.12
Is Michael Phelps really the best swimmer who ever walked the earth?
Maybe. But if you think of all of the people over the years who have had the potential to be a world-class swimmer, Phelps certainly isn’t alone. However, throughout history, most people haven’t chosen to invest in the resources or time that Phelps had to practice.
“THE MORE I PRACTICE THE LUCKIER I GET” – Arnold Palmer
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not discounting Phelps’ talents or anyone else’s. I’m just making the point that practice is the real difference-maker in success. When you put in the time, you will get results. When you look at all of the most successful people, like Bryant, Mozart, or da Vinci, no one can say they got there by luck. They all put in thousands upon thousands of hours of work. And when they were close to the top or even at the very top, becoming pillars of success in their fields, they kept working.
The sheer number of hours spent developing a very specific set of skills elevated them to a level of mastery. You can do the same thing with sales.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN TAKING YOU’RE CRAFT TO THE HIGHEST LEVELS?
Now that you understand what a little sweat and hard work can do for your career, you just need to know how to practice.
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