Categorized | Opinion

Your Grandfather Was Wrong…

By Mike T. Smith

We’ve all heard the phrase “There are no shortcuts to success. You have to work hard, pay your dues, and be patient.” You heard it from someone who cares about you and is only trying to prepare you mentally, physically, and emotionally for the long hard journey as you embark on a worthwhile venture.
I will not debate that. It is hard. It is mentally and physically exhausting and there are times when you’re going to question your sanity as you ask yourself, “Why do I do this to myself?”.
But there is a shortcut to success. You can learn from other people’s mistakes who have taken the journey before you. People who understand what you’re going through and can mentor you. Seek those people out. It speeds up the process and it also serves as proof that it’s possible.
This past weekend I was in Orlando and I didn’t even get to see Mickey Mouse or Shamu. I know, I’m just as disappointed about that as you are. I was there for another reason.
I got a chance to work with Josh Shipp. He’s not exactly a household name, but he’s someone I’ve admired for five years. Josh is a fellow youth motivational speaker and he’s been speaking to schools professionally for over fifteen years, which is much longer than I have. So he’s made a lot of mistakes long before I even considered speaking as a career. I can learn from those mistakes.
The best way to learn is to learn from mistakes. You learn what NOT to do and then you tweak your game plan and your approach, then you try again. It’s part of the process. It stings when you make a mistake. It’s brutal as it costs you time, ego and money. But you can learn from other’s mistakes. It’s just as effective and you save yourself time and money. That’s the shortcut to success. It still costs you your ego. Part of learning and asking for help is swallowing your pride and admitting that you don’t know it all and that you need help.
So when the opportunity came to work with Josh Shipp, I didn’t hesitate. Sure he paid me a little money, but it barely covered the costs in getting to Orlando. I would’ve even done it for free (Don’t tell Josh). I didn’t care about the money. It was an opportunity to learn from him. It was a shortcut to me becoming a better speaker, and using that to help even more people. After we finished we had lunch together where he let me pick his brain about speaking. He couldn’t have been a nicer guy about it. Such an amazing and humble person.
What is it that you want to do? What dream is burning within you and is keeping you up at night because it seems so daunting and even impossible? It’s time to take the path least traveled, which happens to be the shortcut, and seek someone out who has been there and done that. They’re out there, and they’re willing to help you out.
Mike T. Smith is a youth motivational speaker. For more info on Mike visit
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May 2015
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