As I prepare content for my keynote speech at a sales conference next week, three main themes are emerging. Three elements which I believe are vital for success (at work and in life!)
Love what you do; Communicate well; Never give up.
I’ve come across three fabulous illustrations of those elements, from three very different spheres – cinema, politics and sport.
- Love what you do. (If you’re not a fan of musical theatre, look away now and scroll down to the next section). If you haven’t seen The Greatest Showman yet, take the rest of the day off, and go. Your boss will understand. It’s a phenomenon and it’s a thing of pure joy. This clip is self explanatory and it’s a remarkable example of people having a very good day at the office. If any of us ever experiences the emotions on display in this short film, our careers will have been worthwhile. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PluaPvhkIMU
Seriously though, loving or even liking what we do, valuing it, seeing the benefit in it for others – these are important elements in the formula for success. People who love what they do are attractive to be around. Whether we work alongside them or buy from them, their enthusiasm is infectious. Did you notice the guy on the piano in the clip?
- Communicate well. It’s not enough to just experience a love of accounting/litigation/design/architecture, we have to be able to impart that joy and the value of the product/service to others. Establishing connections with clients, persuading them to use us/buy from us, maintaining those relationships – it’s all down to robust communication skills. Theodore Roosevelt suggested that “the single most important factor in the formula for success is knowing how to get along with people”. Winston Churchill was a masterful communicator, as demonstrated in the new film Darkest Hour. And he tried, via a famous memo to staff on 9 August 1940, to instil in others the skill of brevity.
- Never give up. As Roger Federer lifted the trophy at the Australian open yesterday – an astonishing, record-breaking moment – his advice to Marin Cilic was “keep doing what you’re doing”. I don’t think he meant ‘keep on losing’ but rather keep getting up every morning and doing everything to the very best of your ability. And that’s about being resilient and tenacious and having grit. It’s part of what has sustained Federer through 20 grand slams. I came across an interesting study the other day into the factors which dictate whether a cadet will make it through basic training at West Point military academy (which is quite tough apparently). Rather than physical prowess or intellect, the most important factor turned out to be grit.
So, whether we get up each morning and reach for a laptop, a tennis racquet, or a pair of tap shoes, let’s Sing, Speak, Stay – find something to love in what we do; tell others about it effectively and confidently, and (as Churchill was oft to say at moments of difficulty), KBO – keep buggering on.