One of the challenges we all face is staying humble in the face of success. We work very hard to attain success. Stay humble when you do, and you’re going to be successful. I have a story I love about being humble, about putting success into perspective. It’s a story about the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
The Story about Vancouver Winter Olympics
There were two Alpine skiers: One from Italy, his name was Giuliano Razzoli, and the other was from Ghana, his name was Nkrumah-Acheampong. Those guys both skied in the men’s slalom at the Vancouver Olympic games.
Obviously, both went there with very high, incredible goals. Razzoli’s goal was to win the gold medal, and Nkrumah-Acheampong’s goal was not to finish last. Now here’s one guy that wants to win the gold medal, one guy doesn’t want to be last. They both achieved their goals. But in the aftermath of the race, the world applauded Razzoli, they adored Nkrumah.
Why did we salute number one and embrace number 47?
Razzoli is that multimillion-dollar producer; “I’ll be number one if I have to stay here all night” type producer. Nkrumah-Acheampong – he’s us.
Razzoli is from Italy. He began skiing at age three and he never stopped. His mentor is a name you may remember, Alberto Tomba. Alberto Tomba was the last Italian man to win Olympic Alpine gold. So, he started at age three, practiced constantly, and he practiced as much and as hard as anyone in the world. He’d been racing competitively all his life. So second place was not an option to this guy. Second place was failure.
Nkrumah-Acheampong is from Ghana. The coolest month of the year in Ghana is 77 degrees Fahrenheit on average. So, he’d been skiing less than 10 years. He took it up in England. He had no mentor. He couldn’t even beat his coach going down the mountain. Nonetheless, he came to Vancouver and is Ghana’s first ever Olympic skier. He said, “I’ve been able to wangle and wrangle and struggle and find deals here and there.” So he got there in very short money. He had two goals. One was to avoid last place, and two, to beat at least one skier from a country where it snows.
So, this is where Alpine skiing gets like your business.
Of the 102 skiers who started in that slalom, only 48 finished the required two runs. Everybody else dropped out. Nkrumah-Acheampong finished 47th, and I think his name was Erjon Tola, of Albania, finished 48th. The majority of other people never finished. They fell to the wayside. After the race fans were chanting Ghana, Ghana, Ghana for an hour. This guy signed every autograph. He met every photo request. He said after the race, “I just try to remember who I am.” He said, “Just be yourself and things will turn out right. If you try to play up to the cameras, then that’s a problem.” That’s a great story about being humble.
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I also have a great story about believing in yourself.
As an advisor, you have to believe in yourself in times of uncertainty, especially. You have to believe that what you did at the beginning, that plan you set up, that’s the right way to go. You have to stick to your guns. Your clients don’t want you doubting yourself. It’s hard to stick to your guns when the whole world’s telling you you’re wrong. So, when you start to doubt your self-worth, which you will, remember this story. I don’t know if this story’s true or false, but it’s a great story about Picasso.
It seems a woman came up to Picasso and asked him to sketch something on a piece of paper. So he did. He sketched it, gave it back to her and said, “That’ll be $10,000.” She was astounded. She said, “It just took you five minutes to do that sketch. Isn’t $10,000 a lot of money for five minute’s work?” He said, “That sketch may have taken me five minutes, but the learning process took me 30 years.”
Picasso said later, “If they take away my paint, I’ll use pastels. If they take away my pastels, I’ll use a pencil. If they take away my pencil and strip me naked and put me in a cell, I’ll spit in my finger and I’ll paint. I love it. It’s what I do.” Now, how cool is that?