Since 2008 I have been writing an inspirational quotes-based blog, Jam with Mike!, now read by 3,000 people globally. My consultancy and my approach to helping individuals and organizations thrive is grounded in the quotes and the verbiage contained in these brief posts. The purpose of these JAMs has always been to nourish the reader with positive information, to motivate and inspire. With over 1,000 JAMs sent, I continue to write them and use the philosophy behind them to guide my consultancy.

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“Whenever you see a successful person, you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them.” -Vaibhav Shah

We are fooled constantly into believing that the successful athletes, entertainers, and leaders we admire, achieve what they achieve because they are uniquely gifted with skills and attributes we can only dream of. We convince ourselves that we can never be like our heroes because we lack their natural gifts. This is a huge falsehood.

Virtually all of these “gifted” people achieved their status and level of achievement through years and years of focused skill building, practice, failures, practice, experience, practice, and more practice! Their “secret” is not merely their natural talent, but rather their determination to do what is necessary to be one of the best at their chosen talent or vocation.

If you aspire to be among the best in your chosen field, and you have at least rudimentary talent, the only question is the level of commitment you are willing to make. Commitment, focused practice, and perseverance to get us through the many times we will fail, will allow any of us to rise to a high level of competency, if not reaching the elite level.

Do you want to reach a competitive level in your chosen sport, or musical/artistic talent? Do you want to be the best possible leader or parent? Are you ready to commit? To persevere? To practice? Go for it!

“Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe.” -Sumner Redstone

The simple truth that significant success is built on failure vs. success sounds counterintuitive. And yet, if we reflect on our own great leaps forward, or read about those of notable leaders, athletes, or artists, we will see its truth.

Interesting then that we are so averse to failure, causing us to avoid the very actions, though risky, which offer us the best opportunity to learn and grow. It is not that we should seek to fail, but rather that we should push ourselves beyond what we know and are comfortable with.

Reflect on how you might take some measured risks in the days ahead, knowing that you might fail, but also knowing that even if you do fail you will be even more prepared to leap forward to a great success.

“We all understand the importance of asking for help, but those who achieve big things are the ones who accept it when it’s offered.” -Simon Sinek

This is a very important lesson. So many capable people go through life not achieving their potential. Not because they didn’t work hard, or didn’t’ have the right experience, education, and abilities. They didn’t reach their potential because they didn’t ask for help when they needed it (out of ignorance or ego) and/or they didn’t accept help when it was offered (out of pride or stubbornness).

We succeed only when we are aware of the gaps in our resources and are willing to ask for help, and most importantly, accept it when it is offered. Awareness comes from taking the time to reflect on capabilities and gaps to identify where we may need assistance. Acceptance of offered help comes from humility and gratitude.

What are your gaps? Where might you benefit from outside assistance? What changes do you need to make in your way of thinking about yourself to give you the courage to ask for help and the humility to accept it when it is offered?

This may be the most important work you do to improve your chances for achievement and to accelerate your potential.

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