Success – The Eight Traits

In his TED talk from 2009, best selling author, speaker and marketing expert Richard St. John spoke about what he believes are the 8 traits of success.  This is based on his book, 8 To Be Great where he spent ten years and over 1,000 face to face interviews with many of the World’s most successful people across all different industry and pursuits.

These 8 traits are –

  1. Passion
  2. Work
  3. Focus
  4. Push
  5. Ideas
  6. Purpose
  7. Serve
  8. Persist

When it comes to an athletic pursuit my experiences as a coach and athlete for the last 30 years whole heartedly agrees with St. John’s conclusions.  Interestingly none of these traits talk about outcomes, comparisons, places or times. Yet in the world of triathlon so many appear to be more concerned with how they compare to others, what place they came or their finishing time.

Whilst I am all for celebrating a great result if that means a time your proud of or a finishing in a place you feel good about, they should not define success in my opinion. And while it is natural to sometimes compare yourself to others, if we are to compare ourselves to anyone, compare yourself against you and where you have come from.

I have met too many an athlete that never feel satisfied in their achievements due to the focus on places, times and comparisons. This is despite them often being at the pointy end of the field and often going faster.  And when it comes to comparison it is the thief of joy in a World saturated by the false reality of social media.

The success should be in the pursuit and the process of working towards a goal that challenges you.  Overcoming challenges, being persistent in the face of adversity, being able to focus under pressure and feeling passionate about what you’re doing.  All very much, traits that are about the day to day grind of doing the ‘work.’

Not surprisingly when you are engaged in the process and enjoying it the outcomes take care of themselves on race day.  The race is all but a small part of the overall journey.  After the race is over life continues as normal. Back to work so the bills can be paid and balancing the demands of family, work and training. And that is where the success is.

If you enjoyed this article read my previous blog on Developing Resilience

About Mark

Mark is one of Australia's most experienced and knowledgeable triathlon coaches. With over 25 years experience coaching at all levels from kids, youth, adult and elite professional athletes across the World. He loves seeing people change their lives through triathlon.

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