Shelly-Ann's secret to sprinting stardom
Glenford Smith career writer
If you've ever wondered about what makes the great great, then you're in luck. Or, it might be more accurate to say, forget about luck.
Let me explain.
On Friday, August 16, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won 200m gold in 22.17 seconds, to add to her 100m title, achieved four days before, at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow, Russia. It was her first time attaining the coveted sprint double, in an already extraordinary career.
During one post-race interview, Fraser-Pryce was wished good luck in her upcoming women's 4x100-metre race, to be run that Sunday. She would go on to win the relay gold medal in the event. Her response was memorable, as it was instructive.
Said Fraser-Pryce: "I don't believe in luck, I believe in work. Hard work beats luck every time."
Her response provides an essential but often overlooked key to career success, not only for athletes, but for people in every profession. That key is that success has more to do with your efforts than with any other factor outside yourself.
Too many people buy into the fallacy that success depends upon luck, God's blessings, the economy, links, qualifications, money, or where they grow up. They fail to appreciate that they are the primary determinants in their achievements.
Let's be clear: All the above factors are important to varying degrees, in attaining one's goals. Ultimately, however, what happens in your career comes down to whether or not you're willing to pay the price.
Fraser-Pryce identified hard work as the price she has had to pay for Olympic and World Championship stardom. It's no different for you and me. It's a cliche, but true nonetheless, that the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.
I have noticed that Jamaicans generally love to celebrate other people's outstanding success. We enjoy sharing vicariously in the achievements of our successful compatriots. Many of us, however, often stop short of working to replicate that same success in our own careers and lives.
This summer, for instance, Fraser-Pryce, Usain Bolt, Javon Francis, Warren Weir, and others have again made us proud, winning seven gold medals to finish third in the world standings.
That's great. We should celebrate them. And we should all take pleasure in their accomplishments. We should, however, never forget that it is their accomplishments, not ours.
They were the ones who worked hard, sacrificed and mastered their craft to world-class levels. We should let their extraordinary athletic achievements inspire us to our own unique greatness, in our careers and our lives.
Will you sacrifice partying, computer games, sleep, social media, television, and other fun activities to study and practise to become a master of your craft? Will you endure pain, failure, and struggle like all these athletes to reach the top in your field?
The essence of Fraser-Pryce's words is that success doesn't just happen; there is a price to pay. Whatever goal you want in life can be yours, if you're willing to pay the price.
Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.