Grit vs. Raw Talent

Recently, I stumbled upon this video from Sports Illustrated. It talks about the first time Kobe Bryant met college football star, Rudy Ruettiger. Rudy and his family were attending a Lakers game where they saw Kobe practicing on the court two hours before the game started.  

In full excitement, Rudy and his son walked over to meet Kobe where they were stopped by a security guard before walking on to the court. Kobe heard the interaction and walked over to greet them when he discovered the man was Rudy Ruettiger. Kobe looked at Rudy’s son and said, “Your dad’s my hero. When I was 16 my father showed me your dad’s movie in Italy and the only reason I’m out here is because of you. It reminds me that I have to keep earning my talent and I can’t take it for granted.”  

Kobe knew he was gifted physically but he became successful when his talent paired with hard work and determination. This story got me thinking. From my experience as a Sales Manager and now President and CEO, I notice three common “groups” of people:  

  1. People with raw talent who don’t have a work ethic.  
  2. People who don’t have raw talent, but they have a work ethic.  
  3. People who have a combination of both raw talent and work ethic.  

Kobe Bryant had a combination of all these traits – which is why he was so successful.  

Companies are always looking for new people who will run toward a problem, help others and be a positive member of the team. They are looking for people who embody all of these qualities. Which group are you in? No matter where you fall, my advice for you is to continue perfecting your craft and developing your skills. When you combine those two actions and keep moving forward, you will be unstoppable.