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  • James McPartland

Keep On Hammering

“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it – but all that had gone before.”

– Jacob Riis, Photographer and Journalist

In my work with leaders, professional athletes, and executives, I am often asked the “how” question:

HOW do we grow, HOW do we get stronger, HOW do we get faster, HOW do we become more profitable, HOW do we get people to listen, HOW do we get customers to buy, HOW can we have our people do what they have committed to doing, and HOW can we get our teammates to play at a higher level?

One response that elicits a myriad of questions is, “Keep hammering.”

Further, I say, “Keep pounding away on yourself.” Much as Michelangelo claimed to release David from the captivity of the marble block, I say to all, “Work on yourself, set the example, and let your life demonstrate that which you look for in other people.” Being YOU is a full time job, and getting yourself to play the game of life to your fullest potential requires concentration, dedication, and complete focus. It is very difficult to change yourself, not impossible, yet it requires work.

Changing another is, simply put, impossible. One does not go to the gym, return home to look in the mirror, and see results. It is after months of focused “work”, with no idea which of the exercise sessions that made the difference, that leads us to look at our reflection and see improvement.

Finally, the process of continuous improvement finds us surrounded by like-minded people. When that happens, there is no need to ask “how” to change others. They are already at work on it. Often playing at a higher level is simply getting around the right crowd…

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