In the first blog on Reflections on John C Maxwell, Talent is Never enough, I covered belief, passion, initiative, and focus as things that you need for you to become a talent plus person. In this blog, I talk about preparation, practice, perseverance and courage.
Preparation Positions your talent
The old saying goes ‘failing to plan, is planning to fail.’ Everything that you will do in your life will require one to prepare. Think of the time that you had to travel, you had to do some form of preparation even if the trip was an emergency. The same applies to our talent. We cannot succeed with our talent if we don’t prepare. One reality that we have to make peace with is the fact that our preparation is likely to take more hours as compared to activity or the event that we are planning to do. For example, if you are organizing an international youth conference, the preparations might take months, for an activity that will take a maximum of 5 days. Think about the time that you had to welcome a high-profile person in your organization, or home, what sort of preparation did it take? If these questions do not trigger anything for you, think about the kind of preparation it takes for you to have one thanks giving or Christmas dinner. Similar level of preparation or more will be required for one to succeed with their talent.
Practice Positions your talent
‘It is a fact: you play at the level that you practice. Consistently good practice leads to consistently good play.’-John C. Maxwell
Maxwell in this book shares the story of Charles Dickens and how he rose to fame through his writing. Maxwell states that Dickens rose to fame because he dedicated himself to practice. Because of his practice, Dickens was at first an ordinary writer, and later become an extraordinary writer better than his editors, and mentors because he kept writing. I related this story to that of my family. I happen to come from the family of musicians and producers. I have watched my brothers from the time they were amateur producers, up until now when they are household names. This didn’t happen by accident. These guys, practice between 4-8 hours every day. Because they practice every day, they keep getting better every time. I therefore, I agree that practice is key. There is power in practice. Through practice you develop, your discover new areas of your gifts or talents and your also gain discipline that come in handy when you are now using your talent.
It is the practice of your talent that turns a mediocre person into an excellent individual.
Perseverance sustains your talent
‘You cannot get much done in life, if you work on the days you feel good’-Jerry West, NBA Player, Coach and Executive
You cannot become successful if you don’t persevere. Life is hard. Because of life is hard, you will have to develop the spirit of perseverance to deal with the hard life. This means persevere is something that you will need for the rest of your life. The hardships of life sometimes make you want to quit. It sounds like a better option most of the times to quit. However, when you quit, you are assured that you will not arrive at the place that you have always wanted to get. My blog on perseverance covers my stories of perseverance better. But, when you persevere, you will face hardships, you will fall, you will get disappointed, but when you keep on, you are guaranteed that at the end of this struggle, there is a prize that is waiting for me at the end of the day. I will give an example of students who need to pursue further education but cannot afford to pay for the education. Scholarship applications become the next option. I will be very honest, there is nothing fun about making scholarship applications. What keeps you going is not the scholarship per se, but what you see your life becoming after you get the scholarship. In his book, Maxwell writes, a life style of giving up, a wrong belief that life should be easy, a wrong belief that success should be a destination, lack of resiliency, and lack of vision. To deal with these stumbling blocks, one has to find her/his purpose, eliminate excuses, and develop some stamina.
Courage tests your talent
‘You can do nothing worthwhile without courage’-John C. Maxwell
We all need courage to become who we want to be. We need courage to take the first step to start to act on our ideas, dreams and visions. Courage helps us rise above the enemies within and outside. The reason a good number of people have not acted on their dreams and aspirations is that they lack the courage to take the first step. They lack the courage to stand in the face of opposition without and from external forces. Courage allows you to step out of your comfort zone and start pursuing things that seem impossible at first. How can I activate my courage? Maxwell submits that we have to look for courage inside, not outside, yourself; grow in courage to do the right thing and not the expedient thing; take small steps of courage; recognize that leadership position won’t give you courage; and courage acts.
Eight years ago, I was one person who was not comfortable to write anything online. I had to however, go passed my fears and start writing on social media. It was not easy, however, the feedback I got has helped me improve in many aspects. I am still improving up until today. The same applies to public speaking.
I believe that every person has a seed of courage in them. The difference is that some grow that seed and multiple, and while other let their seed stay untouched. Therefore, it is about time that you and I start to tap into our courage vessel and be willing to step out of the comfort zone.