Opportunity Is A Result Of Dedication And Perseverance.
Someone recently commented to me that “opportunities come and go, and you just have to choose which ones to jump on.” I couldn’t have felt that statement to be any further from the truth. Opportunities don’t just present themselves, or at least not in my world unless I actively engage everything I have and create the conditions for them to appear in front of me.
The comment made me think about how differently Joe and I view the world. I’d say that my parents, and all of my closest friends, and the successful people in my life would also assert that it rarely if ever just happens out of circumstance. Our team actively creates and tweaks the framework for our success. It doesn’t just happen. Our team of now six people, with one very recent addition, whom I will talk about shortly, is starting to grow. We have implemented morning stand-up’s and are now beginning to flesh out all of the individual and collective roles people will have.
For anyone familiar with a startup, this makes perfect sense. You may have been hired as X, but will also find yourself doing Y, and often assisting the team with Z. It takes a very special person to not only survive the daily challenges of that timeframe, but an exceptional person to thrive in it, coming in day after day and swinging for the fences. This personality type is, as we discussed last week, there for the outcome. They want the challenge, they are betting a good chunk of their future on the success of the company, and are courageous and driven enough to persevere in sometimes extremely difficult times.
Sam, is that type of person. She joined our team this week, and will be working for us, aligning a wide-variety of critical tasks. She has lived in a number of places, spends her free time surfing, skiing, and rock climbing, when she isn’t riding her bike or doing 720’s in her small car. Her attitude is great, she smiles a lot, and she never turns down a team mate in need. It’s hard to overstate how appreciative we are to have her, and the professional and personal experience levels she brings to the table, because she’s part of the foundational time for our company.
People who do well in a startup manage to get through all of their assigned tasks, help others out during the day, and generally will work in addition to what’s asked of them. Overarching, we have built a team that can figure things out without having their hands held. They see a problem, attempt to find a solution, and if they can’t fix it themselves, we step in. That’s the ingenuity that allows for us to rapidly close the loops, in sometimes frenetically paced sprints, on problems which would often plague a large company for days.
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” — Stephen King
By being doers, rather than automatons, our team is creating the conditions necessary for successful engagement with clients, companies we want to use, and products we need. The team’s efforts in doing the necessary research, scheduling presentations, actually understanding the pains our clients experience, and driving towards a solution that works for everyone involved creates opportunity. We also don’t live in an echo-chamber and are keenly aware that hard work and perseverance allows us to see the opportunities.
If you’ve ever engaged with highly successful people, in any industry, at any level, they will all tell you the same thing:
Nothing comes easily, and everything they have is the result of hard-fought victories.
In all Special Operations selection courses, success is fundamentally measured in smarts, preparedness, and most importantly, perseverance. Unlike the movies, it’s not the strongest, or smartest, or most prepared who are selected. Instead, success finds the candidates who do not crumble when things fall apart around them. It’s the ones who forgot their rifle at the last land navigation checkpoint, and now need to burn up valuable time to recover it, in the middle of the night, and simply buckle down and go for it, pushing past the point of exhaustion. Candidates who continually overcome their own weaknesses, who can dominate their mind, and will their body to continue, when their brain is telling it to stop.
Yet, failure is a part of life. Sometimes, almost inexplicably, something goes wrong. You break your ankle, the cadre dislikes you, the conditioning plan you were on was crap…it can happen and always does at the worst possible time. What this means, for us, is that when we view our team, whether we’re about to embark on a mission or looking to assign tough tasks to team members in our companies, we look for that fire in their eyes that tells us that they know how to bounce back. That they have in the past failed hard and yet are here today.
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..” — John Milton
Whether it’s a Special Operations selection course, the cut-throat world of business, or an interpersonal relationship, it won’t be a mystery to you how you failed. That is contingent of course on having a brutally honest period of introspection, but in doing so, you will know what went wrong. More importantly, learn how to be better, faster, and more capable the next time.
Then, long after you’ve decided not to feel sorry for yourself, and instead learned from your mistakes and started over, you will experience a moment. Opportunity will present itself, bright as day, staring you in the face. It could be the person you will spend the rest of your life with, the job you’ve always wanted, the moment to engage in a conversation with someone previously inaccessible to you, or that opening to an institution you never imagined within your grasp.
You will know that those thousands, or maybe even countless, hours and days, where you sought improvement and worked to become better…they were all worth it. Coincidentally, your friends, family, and acquaintances will mostly remark about your “sudden success” and how “sometimes all of it just falls into place” but you, you will remember the bitter sting of failure, defeat, and your plan of action to shape your path that followed it. It was that moment that made you put your foot on the gas and keep it pinned until you succeeded.
Everyone who works at Zero Hour Media has experienced stinging defeat in their lives. They know what it’s like to have life go from normal to upside down in the blink of an eye, to feel humiliation, and yet…they all got back on their feet. Today, we all have a chance to look around the room and feel comfortable knowing that our team mates have been through the wringer.
As founders, the best part is that Joe and I get to candidly speak to them and share in our failures and our success with them. We encourage and give leeway for them to push boundaries, explore new concepts, and invest themselves into the outcome. We do not believe in safe-spaces and instead encourage realistic views, and as we progress, some things will get easier, and other yet unknown things will appear to challenge all of us. As the team grows, and we continue to add people who are resourceful, intelligent, and adaptive, we will have no shortage of strength to manage our challenges and successfully overcome the curveballs life throws at us.
I’ll close this week’s update with a quote by John D. Rockefeller
“I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”
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