There’s an old saying “Life’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon.” That is patently false. Life is not a marathon. EXISTENCE is a marathon. All you have to do to exist is just not die. But life calls for action; attempts and achievements. Which is why life isn’t a marathon, it actually is a never -ending series of sprints.
You see, to run a sprint, you train for days, months, even years. You spend time in the weight room, practicing, and trying to beat the clock. It’s feels like you train forever. And for what? A 10 second event. Validation of all that preparation comes down to you being your best for 10 seconds. (or less)
Life is the same way. You work hard for days, weeks, months and sometimes years for that “one opportunity”. That one shot. That one chance. It may be a fortunate encounter in an elevator. It may an interview with a “Fortune 100” firm, it may be election night. For me, it may be an opportunity to land a major client.
When Calvin Richardson asked me to make his suit for the 2010 Grammy Awards, we had known each other for about 6 months. We ran into each other occasionally. We texted occasionally. We were acquaintances, but we weren’t really friends. In fact when he called me, it was last minute. But he called because I had been preparing for the sprint. Every time he had seen me, I was in a suit. I represented my brand. Without me knowing, he was watching and gaining trust in me. When he called me, we had exactly a week to make it happen. We made it happen, and he was named “Best Dressed on the Red Carpet”. I had practiced for months, and I had a week to run my race. Not only on the race, I set a record.
I also failed at another race I didn’t realize I was racing in. I failed to prepare for the success. Having someone wear your clothing at the Grammy’s is a big deal for any designer; let alone for someone with only 17 months experience and no training. But to actually have your client be awarded for being the best dressed is a once in a lifetime opportunity. One that could have set me on a far more expedited path towards success. But I had no PR or media relations team. I had no media connections. I was a construction entrepreneur – turned self-taught clothing designer. I had just beat the odds and designed an award winning suit for the Grammy Awards; and NOBODY knew it. I missed a golden opportunity because that was a race I had not prepared for. I had a short window to capitalize on it, and I missed it. I wasn’t ready for the sprint, and when the starter’s gun went off, I couldn’t even get off of the blocks. I failed miserably.
Fortunately, God has seen fit to allow me to enter more races. And I’ve won my fair share of them. But I still lose a lot of them too. I’m not the only person that prepares for these races. My peers do too. I have to prepare every second of every day to be prepared for that opportunity. Our races won’t be run on a track. They will be in life and in the workplace. Our starter’s pistol will be the opening of an elevator, a chance meeting in line at the market, or an unexpected phone call, text or email.
Opportunity doesn’t knock anymore. It sends out a mass email, and the first one that replies, and is ready to race, usually wins. Are you ready for your 10 seconds? If you’re not, trust me, someone else is. Until next time…..
God bless and dress well.
William Wilson, CEO
William Wilson Clothing
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