When I was a young child, I wanted to be a Sportscaster. I was enamored by sports and competition. My first celebrity idol was Vince Sculley, announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. When I was a young, the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to LA and we listened to Vince from the mid-50’s on using our transistor radios. One of my most vivid memories is listening to Sculley call baseball games when Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, probably the most dynamic pitching duo in baseball history, were on the mound.
But that was yesterday. Well, I never became a Sports Broadcaster but I am happy to note that my passion for competition has shown up in many ways in my life and taught me to some principles that I have applied effectively in the business world such as determination, pluck and resilience.
Recently a met a young man who is now in his late twenties. In his young life, he has already experienced what some would see as a lifetime of sadness. He was abandoned by his Father at the age of six and never knew his Mother in any real way. He had a number of siblings that have passed away. He has already experienced one failed business. His first marriage fell apart. And Yet. I still believe that one day when we look up the word “Resilient” in the dictionary, we may find this young man’s name next to it. He is already on to his next business endeavor with passion and enthusiasm, is writing a book, and has a terrific girlfriend. This kid has what my Dad used to call real “Pluck.” When used as a noun, Pluck is a quality that makes you continue trying to do something that is difficult to achieve.”
I met earlier this week with a man who had a pretty successful career as a mid-level manager in his chosen profession. He had become distracted from his career goals when a financial opportunity took him off the beaten path for almost 8 years. And yet today he is back plying his efforts to succeed in his original career in information technology. After our meeting, he wrote to thank me for the career advice I had shared with him. He told me that he had already met with one of the companies that we had spoken about . . . a huge company in the I.T. space. In his email, he said: “Hey – I could even see myself being CEO of that Company some day.” I love someone with ambition and pluck. This guy has it.
It reminded me of a famous movie quote: “Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period. All right?” From the Movie “the Pursuit of Happyness”
Speaking of Happiness, I have noticed that the happiness people I have ever seen in business are those that are absolutely passionate about what they are doing. It does not seem like “work” to them. They are also good at what they do because they will spend long hours doing it. Further, because, they relate to their work, they think more deeply about it and come up with creative ideas to advance their success. I once read: “Our working careers will consume most of our lives, so we might as well do something we enjoy.”
So my simple advice today is to find something about which you have your biggest passion and find a job specifically related to it. It will give you your best chance of success.
Let me close with one last movie quote.
“Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out. Gentlemen, as of this moment, I am that second mouse.”
– Frank Abagnale Sr, Catch Me If You Can (2002)
So while I never became a broadcaster because I did not persist like the second mouse, I am doing things these days around which I have passion including writing this blog and a book. They do not seem like work. And Hey – perhaps there is still time for my original dream for as CS Lewis once said: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
Maybe I will go into broadcasting next…