The Killer Combination: Native Talent And Hard Work

In the small New England town where I grew up, girls’ sports weren’t a budget priority. When I joined the track team in high school, we practiced with the boys.

That’s where I met Dave and Lowell.

Dave was the native talent. He had that lanky, long-muscled physique built for distance running. But running wasn’t his only or even his primary passion. So while he attacked practice hard, he didn’t seem to think much about it. He won most of his races handily with a natural grace and ease.

Lowell was the hard worker. He was built like a spark plug: low to the ground, heavily muscular with short legs. But oh, what a work ethic! Every time I saw Lowell he was running. Or hitting the gym. His only focus was running faster. He didn’t win solo events, but his steady performance anchored the team races.

Our coach made an off-hand comment that if he could only combine Dave’s talent with Lowell’s work ethic, he’d have a world-class runner. That hit me like a lightning bolt (I was a quite-impressionable 14).

I decided right then and there that I would find what I was naturally good at and work like a demon at whatever that was (hint: it most definitely did not involve running).

Today, talent is the price of admission. Real talent. Not shouting about how good you are in social media, but proving it with your clients, your readers, your audience.

The real winners—the ones who build meaningful, sustainable platforms—are the Dave-Lowells. Those who have nailed their highest/best talents AND work, work, work to hone them.  Every. Single. Day.

These are the folks we read and watch and get inspired by. We want them on our team.

I’ve long since lost touch with Dave and Lowell. But even all these years later, I still channel Lowell when I’m in the gym, wavering on doing one more set.

Native talent AND hard work: the killer combination.

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