Each of us defines success in a different way. My definition of success today is being content, loving those close to me with a full heart and enjoying life to the fullest.
One of the things I like to do is speak to people about life and what they can do to accomplish their dreams and goals. I listen to their stories and try to find the commonalities with others who have become successful in life.
I was speaking with two people, in particular, this week with very different lives, yet their stories share common threads. One is an actor who started out for many years as a carpenter first. He studied acting on the side as he worked his woodworking craft. He lived frugally and held himself to a high standard. He pushed himself and never lost sight of where he wanted to be. There were no roles available for guys like him, yet he never gave up and today he is in a number of shows working as a full time actor.
The second is a professional athlete who has worked at his craft his whole life. He reached the top of his game and still he kept at it. Even when his career started to wind down, he stuck to his personal code. He faced tough times and many changes, but with each move and shift he learned and grew. Those tough times helped shape him and equip him for his life today coaching and pushing other athletes to reach their potential.
We can all learn from their stories. First, they each had a clear vision of where they wanted to be, and worked toward it. They did not get caught up in the small things that drag us down in life and will do nothing for us. Second, they demanded excellence from themselves. They went to bed early, got plenty of sleep and woke up early on a schedule. Each of them was willing to sacrifice immediate temporary pleasure for their long term goals. They were willing to put as much time as they could possibly find into mastering their craft.
In doing this they cracked the code of success that many others have followed. Hard work at every stage. They gave it their all no matter how small the work seemed at the time. People took notice because of their hard work. Good work never really goes unseen, even if you feel like it does not matter at the time.
After many years of toil, when they finally had their big opportunity, they were ready.
Another thing that stands out to me about these two, is that they both give thanks to him who made it possible. They will tell you that God will never give you more than you can handle. Their advice is to stay focused, do everything to the best of your ability, demand excellence from yourself and make no excuses. By following these guidelines, we can all reach our full potential.
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,
1 Corinthians 9:24-25
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.