Warning – Tangent Ahead
Today is Australia Day here in Australia (a public holiday). As part of this annual celebration – when we eat a lot of BBQ lamb (BBQ), play backyard cricket and watch the Tennis and Cricket (could the Aussies have demoralized the English any more?) – a hundred or so Aussies are put on the ‘Australia Day honors list’. The list usually acknowledges Aussies who have made some sort of contribution – whether it be in business, charity, sport etc.
This year one of those honored was Steven Bradbury.
You might remember him from the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics when he did this:
The story is actually a little more remarkable than this video of the final shows.
In the quarter final Bradbury came third (only the first two go through) but one of the others who finished ahead of him was disqualified, meaning he advanced to the semi final.
In the semi final Bradbury was coming last when three others in the race crashed leaving him to come second and advance to the final.
Steve Bradbury’s ‘lucky’ win in the 1000 meters speed skating is video footage that gets played regularly on Australian TV and he’s become something of a symbol of the Aussie Spirit (he even had a postage stamp – above) – although we do laugh at him a fair bit too and his name is sometimes spoken with a giggle or two as we remember Australia’s first Gold Medal at a Winter Olympics (in fact someone told me it was the first Gold Medal for anyone in the whole Souther Hemisphere).
It’s not uncommon to hear people use the phrase ‘he did a Bradbury’ to describe events where fortune seem to fall in the lap of someone. It’s even in some Aussie slang dictionaries now.
I heard Steven Bradbury interviewed on the radio this afternoon and as usual he was introduced with the usual chuckle from the interviewer.
During the course of the interview I learned a few things about Steve that I’d not heard or considered before.
- 2002 was Steven’s 4th Olympics
- He’d previously won a Bronze medal in the 5000 meter relay in 1994.
- In 1994 he had been the favorite of the 1000m but collided with a competitor and was knocked out of contention.
- Steven had been a 3 time world champion medalist (Gold 1991, Silver – 1994 and Bronze – 1993)
- Steve overcame two life threatening crashes of his own in his career. Once in 1994 he was impaled on a skate and needed 111 stitches and lost 4 liters of blood. In 2000 he broken his neck in training (he also fractured his skull in a bike riding accident)
So why am I talking about Steve Bradbury on a blog about blogging?
I love to learn from successful people so as I listened to Steve Bradbury being interviewed today I asked myself:
‘what could a blogger learn from him?’
Two main things came to mind.
1. The 12 Year ‘Hard Slog’
As I listened to Steve talk about his 12 years of sacrifice, hardship and commitment this afternoon it struck me that there was so much more to his story than ‘the moment’ that all Aussies remember in 2002.
While that moment perhaps defines him in the minds of many – in his mind he was defined by what preceded the moment. This is what he was talking about when after the race he said:
“Obviously I wasn’t the fastest skater. I don’t think I’ll take the medal as the minute and half of the race I actually won. I’ll take it as the last decade of the hard slog I put in.”
When I first started to see a few dollars come in from my blogging I’ll admit that there were moments when I had dollar signs in my eyes. I remember a few nights not being able to sleep as I’d dream of all the ways I could make quick and easy money from blogging. I quickly discovered however that ‘easy money’ or ‘quick money’ are not really words that many bloggers ever see from blogging.
This is a message that some new bloggers don’t seem to grasp. I speak to at least one a week with grand dreams of quick riches.
While I admire the excitement and passion of these bloggers – the reality is that blogging for money is a ‘hard slog’ with a lot of work, commitment and sacrifice. While there may be no physical injuries sustained (although I’ve had my worries on that level) you might even take a fall or two along the way that you need to push through in order to find success.
2. Put Yourself in a Position to Win
In today’s interview Steve talked about his strategy in the final. The fact was that he was the oldest guy in the field and after four races to make the final he was exhausted.
He didn’t expect to win but thought if he could just stay in touch with the leaders yet far enough away to avoid any falls he might be able to capitalize on one of them taking a tumble (as happens in speed skating). You can see that he slotted straight into the back of the field from the firing of the gun.
He never dreamed that all four would take a tumble (he was hoping for one last bronze before retiring) but decided to put himself in a position to benefit from any opportunities came his way.
While one group of bloggers that I talk to have unrealistic expectations of quick money in their eyes – another group that I bump into from time to time are those who talk a lot about what they’re going to do with their blogging but who never seem to do anything about it.
In order to be successful in any area of life you’ve got to put yourself in a position to be successful. If you’re not willing to enter the race – what chance do you have of winning it?
There comes a time when there’s enough talk and the only thing left to do is start something.