After the Olympics in 1988 our team made frequent trips to the United States as part of a series of public relations campaigns. On one such trip, while attending a Lakers Game at the old Forum, I met Mike Tyson. At the time Mike was the youngest world heavy weight boxing champion. In fact he had landed a devastating blow to fellow Jamaican, Trevor Berbick, to win the title. In the ensuing years “Iron” Mike annihilated every opponent who had the audacity to face him. Then, lo and behold, Buster Douglas, a guy who probably had no business being in the same arena let alone the same ring, knocked out Mike Tyson.
The punch that Buster Douglas landed not only rocked Mike Tyson, it shook up the entire boxing world. How could Buster defeat Mike? Well, if you are aware of the reports about Mike’s preparations leading up to the fight you will know that he did not prepare diligently. He had become so accustomed to overpowering and knocking out his opponents, many in the first round of the bout; that he simply didn’t put in the effort that was necessary to meet the challenge of defending a world heavyweight boxing title. In short, Mike Tyson became complacent and as he now knows complacency breeds failure.
I know it’s a cliché, but it is also true…success is a journey, not a destination. The minute you think you have arrived at the pinnacle of your success and there is no more growth for you nor need for you to continue to work hard; you have put yourself on the super highway to failure. You have to continue to grow. The law of nature requires it. You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting. You are either expanding or becoming expendable.
This means that you must become involved in a constant process of self-evaluation. You must be always asking yourself “What works?” “What doesn’t work”, “In what areas do I need to improve?” and “What can I do improve?” Of course once you’ve identified the areas you then must take the necessary actions to improve. That is what successful executives, students, business people, craftsmen, teachers and companies do. The world is moving at such an alarmingly fast pace that holding on the old philosophy of, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” will surely render you, your job, your skills and your company obsolete.
You should also get in the habit of evaluating your relationships. Remember, you do need the help of others in order to reach your goals. You need employees to help run your business; you need family members, close friends, and confidantes as sounding boards for your ideas and for advice. These are all your teammates, people who play a role in your personal and professional success. Your success depends on them so you need to evaluate where you are in your relationships with them? As you develop a closer working relationship with these folks, you will find that you will become more effective. Human beings push and inspire each other as they work interdependently.
So, what’s the catch? You must embrace change! Growth and success is born of change—admittedly a process that is always uncomfortable and oftentimes fearful but nonetheless, very necessary. It means therefore that as you continue along your success journey; you must learn to become the master of this constant, inevitable force instead of becoming its victim.
Keep on Pushing!