Early last summer I was doing some work painting a fairly large farm-house. There were only two of us doing the work and often times I was left alone. The job required a lot of brushing and cutting in so there were long days where I could listen to audios on my phone.
It was a period in my life where I was desperately seeking information from successful people, because I wanted to turn things around in my business. I was in search for some business partners I could expand my business with but wasn’t quite sure who to look for. So, I would listen to story after story of different leaders that had tremendous results with the hopes that I could find a common denominator in their personality, intelligence, background, upbringing, or ability.
For hours, days, and up to a few weeks, I learned the stories of engineers, plumbers, electricians, teachers, auto mechanics, physical therapists, lawyers, and a whole bunch of other people in other occupations. There were stories of men and women with good upbringings, bad upbringings, learning disabilities, high IQ’s, low IQ’s, good people skills, bad people skills, low self-esteem, poor, rich, good and bad character. Story after story after story I could not find a common denominator. The funny thing is that I truly thought I was going to find some kind of commonality like a certain personality type. Or perhaps they all had decent jobs and to some degree had money. Maybe the common ground was that they were very purpose driven people. Those were the types of things I was looking for. And I looked and looked to no avail.
Then finally, it hit me. I was looking for something tangible. I was looking for something that could be measured. It was like I was looking for something that could be seen or touched. What I found, though, couldn’t be measured. It isn’t something tangible. What I found, the common denominator of each of the successful people I studied, was a deep down hunger or passion to overcome.
Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady talk about hunger in their book Launching A Leadership Revolution as foundational quality number one for leadership. “Hunger itself is one of the biggest facets of leadership. Hunger provides the energy to begin, the stamina to persist, and the will to finish an endeavor.” What prompted me to write this blog was listening to a YouTube video from the HBRN Leadership Factory Hangout with Tony Cannuli, Orrin Woodward, and Bill Lewis. Bill has a phenomenal story of success and perseverance despite his background, upbringing, and limiting beliefs. His hunger to win, his determination to overcome his obstacles, his unwillingness to quit despite how tough things got, is the common denominator that every successful person has. Because success- true, lasting, “leave a legacy” type success- cannot be achieved without overcoming obstacles, struggles, pain, frustration, and road blocks. As Orrin says, “Success is never on sale. You must pay full price.”
Lastly, in Orrin’s book Resolved: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, Orrin talks about Quitters, Campers, and Climbers. Quitters are those people who, even though they were born with the desire to win in life, end up compromising what they truly want out of life for what is immediately available, because they are not willing to overcome the obstacles that life throws at them. Campers are those people who may achieve a certain level of success but grow comfortable with their station in life, surrendering their future for doing “pretty good.” But Climbers, those rare yet amazing people, are ones who passionately refuse to compromise their dreams, convictions, and purpose, deciding to press on no matter what the price or pain. They are willing to grow, learn, change, and do whatever is moral, ethical, and legal to see just how far they can go in life.
Hunger. A deep-down passion to win in life is the common denominator for successful people. Whether it be in sports, an occupation, as a volunteer, in a family, or for a purpose, a person must have this quality in order to withstand the storms of life and come out on the sunny side of every inconvenience.
Below is a video that I feel expresses this idea well. As the narrator says, “Passion truly does have a way of trumping logic.” And as I said earlier, hunger is not something that can be measured. But its results definitely can be seen. Start dreaming of success. Begin to feed on information that will create and feed hunger and passion within you. You will need it if you desire to be a climber in the game of life.