The Will to Succeed or the Will to Prepare

I don’t know if I’ve ever talked to someone who didn’t want to succeed. Even the most negative people, even people who are certain that they can’t succeed, want to succeed.

But most of them don’t succeed. If they all have the want to succeed then why don’t they? I think it’s because they lack the will to succeed.  So is having the will to succeed the “secret sauce” for success? Nope, it puts you in a better place then just having the want to succeed but not by much. 

I think the true key to ultimate long-term success is the will to prepare. 

Preparing means putting in effort, many times a ton of effort, with no immediate return for those efforts. 

A bunch of years ago after a particularly poor round of golf with my dad he convinced me that I really needed to focus on my short game. He was an excellent golfer and offered to help me with it. So one morning I called I said I had some time around lunch to do a little practice. I said “how about we meet at the practice range for an hour?” 

He replied if all I had was an hour then there was no point. He said 4 hours of practice at least a few times a week would be about right. I told him if I had 4 hours to spare I’d use it to play golf, not practice golf. He replied with some carefully worded comment about that might be why I suck at golf. 

He went on to say that every golfer “wants” to be good, but most aren’t “willing” to make the effort required to earn what they want.

I work with lots and lots of salespeople who want to sell more. Some even have to will to sell more, they make more calls, they see more people and they repeat the same mistakes again and again. They refuse to prepare for a sales call to maximize their opportunity with a prospect.  They decline to learn the art of selling, instead focusing on working more instead of working smarter. 

I see many people who really want to make a difference in the world by leading. But want doesn’t get it done. They struggle because that lack the will to make themselves an effective leader. They won’t invest a minute of their time in actual leadership training, many won’t even read a book a leadership. They don’t prepare to succeed as a leader and therefore they don’t succeed. 

What about you? I can safely say you want to be more successful. You may have the will to be more successful but do you have the will to prepare for success? Abraham Lincoln once said “If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.” 

He had to want to succeed, the will to succeed and most importantly, the will to prepare to succeed. 

Can the same be said about you?