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The 10,000-Hour Rule
 February 2011
In This Issue
The 10,0000-Hour Rule
A Million Circles
Grace Notes
Don't Just Sit There...
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They Oughta Know...

"Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy."
--Robert Half

"I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near."

--Margaret Thatcher

"Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price." 

--Vince Lombardi


"There is no substitute for hard work."

--Thomas Edison



National Speakers Association 


Looking for a speaker?


I'm eager to be of service!  If you're planning a conference, a workshop or an executive retreat and need a speaker or facilitator, let's talk.  To see some sample topics, click here. 

For those of you who have read Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers: The Story of Success, this idea won't be new to you. I just finished reading Outliers and couldn't wait to share the 10,000-hour rule with you.


Outliers by Malcolm GladwellMr. Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker and also an international bestselling author. He was formerly a business and science reporter for The Washington Post, and his love of data and statistics is a core piece of his quirky world view. In Outliers, he has tackled the study of the science of success. And it turns out, practice really does make... if not perfect, at least wildly successful.


Is there such a thing as innate talent? Indubitably. But what makes a superstar? "Achievement is talent plus preparation," writes Mr. Gladwell. But it turns out that preparation trumps being gifted. The author references a study done in the early 1990s by psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and two colleagues at the Academy of Music in Berlin. They followed music students as well as amateur and professional pianists and found that, beyond a certain threshold, the thing that distinguished one performer from another was how hard he or she worked. "That's it," Mr. Gladwell writes. "And what's more, the people at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder cellistthan everyone else. They work much, much harder." 


He later quotes neurologist Daniel Levitin. "The emerging picture... is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert--in anything," according to Dr. Levitin.


Madison Manning working on her Million Circles. Photo used with permission from Tim Manning.

A Million Circles
I was reminded of what my friend Tim Manning told me recently. Tim, practice manager of DuPage Medical Group, has a six-year-old daughter Madison who is a budding speed skater. Tim said Madison had the good fortune to meet John Coyle, an Olympic speed skater who won a silver medal in the men's 5000 meter relay at the 1994 winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. The Olympian's advice? "A million circles." That's what he told this young girl--to skate a million circles if she wants to become a champion. I would venture to say that might take 10,000 hours.

What is it that you do that requires 10,000 hours of practice in order to achieve mastery? And have you created the time on your calendar to do so? Here's where genius (yours) meets time management. Even Mozart, it turns out, had to practice.
Grace Notes 
  • I'm speaking this Wednesday to the Naperville Chamber's Women in Business on "Connect Your Business in 2011." My thanks to friend and colleague Barb Dwyer for that gracious invitation.
  • Another shout-out to Tim Manning who, in addition to his role at DuPage Medical Group, is also editor of First Illinois Speaks!, the newsletter of the First Illinois Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).  Tim invited me to contribute to the January newsletter with another version of "Fireproof Your Career in 2011" (see page 8). Thanks, too, to Mike Nichols, managing director of the healthcare practice of RSM McGladrey, Liz Simpkin, VP  of Valence Health and Vince Pryor, CFO of Edward Hospital, who all agreed to be interviewed for the story.
  • Jim Fergle, manager of employment services at workNet DuPage, not only invited me to be a speaker at his job club, but he also was our featured speaker at the Between Successes Career Ministry this month. Thanks, Jim, for everything you do for people who are "between successes."
  • I was recently interviewed by Kristine Rodriguez for Insight magazine, the publication of the Illinois CPA Society, on what it takes to not get the job. We talked about the perils of social media, reminding me yet again to think twice before posting something on FaceBook or hitting the "send" button.  Thanks, Kristine and ICPAS, for inviting me to be one of your career experts.
Don't Just Sit There... 

VickieThe 10,000-hour rule reminds us that we have to make a significant investment of time in order to achieve greatness. My dad had a famous saying... when I talked to him about my aspirations as a writer, he'd say, "Don't just sit there--write something!" He knew it, Malcolm Gladwell knows it and so do Olympic athletes. If we're going to get any better, we'd better get busy.


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