A lesson from a twelve year old

I’ve recently been in Spain where among other things, I regularly play doubles tennis. On one occasion, our foursome was completed by a twelve year old from Ireland who was probably less than 5ft, and at first sight, seemed to be simply making up the numbers.

In the knock up, I immediately realised, this boy could play tennis. In fact, he hit the ball so hard and true that I thought I was playing against an adult pro.

At the end of the match, when not unsurprisingly, I was on the loosing side(!), I discovered that he had been over on holiday with his family for the past three weeks and had been playing 6 hours a day, everyday, during that time in extreme heat. This was apparently something the family did every year to help him with his tennis. And to save money they didn’t fly but drove from Ireland through France to the south of Spain, without staying anywhere overnight.

This level of commitment, of hard work, of desire, of passion is something you don’t see in most twelve year olds. Hopefully, he will become a great tennis player, but even is he doesn’t, he has understood the benefit of hard work and I’m sure he will be successful in some way or another.

I rarely meet anyone in business that is successful and hasn’t worked hard at some stage along the way, and in most cases they are still doing so.

Hard work, application and commitment are no guarantee of success, but there are very few businesses around that have become successful without these key ingredients.

As a Chartered Accountant and Consultant at Westbury, Howard Graham has been helping small businesses for the last 30 years. During that time, he has also set up numerous successful businesses including an award winning internet business and a restaurant as well as having an interest in a property company, a farm and a design company. He also is a regular speaker on small business issues as well as writing for the BBC, Microsoft and  Imbibe magazine.

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