Little did I realize that the concept of “hard work beats talent” would carry me far beyond my high school wrestling days into my professional career as a VP of Sales for a New York-based payroll & HR company… some of you may know this as Human Capital Management, but I don’t want to assume anything…
It isn’t often that at 32 years old you pull out your senior yearbook as a reference. Many people would argue that we change so much as we get older. While I agree that we evolve and grow, I think the fundamentals stay the same. So on page 145 of the 2003 Hanover Park Regional High School yearbook, you would hear a young Chad, captain of the wrestling team, saying these words:
As the team of fourteen brothers pace around the dark wrestling room, faint voices and muffled shouts can be heard from the wooden gym. Chills run up and down their spines as they glance at the wall of plaques from previous championships won. Thoughts shoot across their minds about their strategy. They see images flash in their minds of getting their hand raised and being victorious. Nobody speaks a word, but their facial expressions say it all. There is a look of determination in everyone’s eyes. The silence is broken by the door slamming open, the light from the hall fills the wrestling room. It is time to take to the mat. The electricity can be felt in each wrestler’s body and the intensity fills the air. Adrenaline pulses through everyone’s veins. The team lines up in the hallway and the stereo begins to thump. The bleachers, which are filled with friends, family, and local fans, anticipate the black and gold to swarm out into the dimly lit gym. Fear is evident in the opponents’ eyes as the Hornets warm up.
It is in this gym that each boy gets six minutes to turn themselves into a man. It is in this gym that each boy gets a chance to make all the hours of drilling, endless technique sessions, and all the miles of running worthwhile. It is in this gym that heroes are made. For you see, that wrestling is unlike any other sport. Wrestling is more than a sport; it is a lifestyle. It is about pushing yourself to the point of breaking, it is about character, it is about never giving up, and most of all it is about being able to look into your opponent’s eyes and smirk because you have trained a lot harder than he has.
Wrestling is the oldest and purest sport known to man. It is a sport that you can test yourself both mentally and physically. Being successful requires much more than natural talent or brute strength; being successful requires a never-ending burning desire in the pit of your stomach. I personally know there is no place in this world I’d rather be, than on that black and gold mat giving everything I can humanly possess to be victorious. For there is no feeling comparable to standing in the middle of the gym with your hand raised. For I have won much more than a wrestling match, I have won my manhood.
Far too often we think of Human Capital Management as just payroll and that scary thing called compliance, but true HCM is tapping into the hearts and minds of our employees to understand where they have come from, what they have experienced and what truly motivates them to succeed.
Fortunately, today I don’t have to run endless miles in a sauna suit and can eat and drink to my heart’s content, but those fundamentals are still the same. I am still driven to strive for greatness with the same level of passion in 2017 in the business world as I did 15 years ago on the wrestling mat.
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