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True Talent

One of my friends has a buddy who trains people to become mountain climbers. 

Their final test is to climb a high mountain. 

Imagine getting to the top – tired, sweaty and proud – only to discover that what appeared to be the peak was just the first of a series of increasingly higher peaks, before the real summit…

The teacher would watch their eyes as the realisation dawned that the climb would be far longer and more challenging than they had anticipated. 

The only ones he would continue to work with were the ones who’s eyes lit up – at the thought that the challenge must continue.

One of the most successful entrepreneurs I know is always happy to hire people who have made a million dollars and lost it. You see, they’ve created success but when they got knocked down they didn’t get knocked out. 

The choreographer George Balanchine appreciated it when, once in a while, a good dancer took a spill during a performance. He said it’s a sign of intensity. A sign that someone is really going for it.

I have a filter for my clients. I choose to coach high performers – talented, driven, ambitious people. 

But there are two types of talent. 

Talent can be specific to your field – in skills like high-level negotiation, finance, medicine or coaching. 

But true talent includes patience, perseverance and persistence.

You see, the real secret to success is longevity – a willingness to be in it for the long haul. 

A willingness to play for the love of the game is what will keep you playing, even in those moments when you’re not winning. 

Failure and struggle are not inevitable but you need drive to keep you moving through the challenging times. 

As those famous British philosophers, Chumbawamba, so sagely put it:

“I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down…”

Courage, creativity, imagination and intuition are all skills that you can learn. And the more successful you become the more you need to learn them. 

But it’s just as essential that you learn patience, perseverance and persistence. And they are only learned through practice. 

The more you practice them, the better you become.

Will Smith’s father made him and his brother build a brick wall when they were kids. At the time, he hated it. 

It took 18 months to build and here’s how he describes it, when he looks back:

“You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.’ You don’t start there. 

You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid.’ You do that every single day. And soon you have a wall.”

The choreographer, George Balanchine, once described how he filtered for extraordinary dancers: 

“I don’t want people who want to dance. I want people who have to dance.”

I launched my new program, Transition Excellence, almost 18 months ago because I’m on a mission…

I’m helping 10,000 leaders become extraordinary coaches – to extraordinary leaders. 

I don’t want people who want to coach. I want people who have to coach…

Love. Rich


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  1. Rich Litvin’s 1:1 Coaching Playbook: Learn my top 10 proven tools for coaching elite clients in this live training. Over 100 people joined me for our first live call – and all calls are recorded, so it’s not too late to join me…
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