The Steam Story

Members of my career mentoring site have heard what I call the steam story several times.  It goes like this…

At 211°, water is hot. At 212°, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. Steam can power a locomotive. That one extra degree of difference can transition you from being good to becoming truly great.

The point?  A little extra effort can make a huge difference in your life.  It can help you create the success that you want and deserve.

Jerry Rice, an NFL Hall of Famer, said it pretty well.  “Every day I do the things that others won’t do, so that on Sunday I can do the things that can’t do.”

Jerry Rice was well known for his commitment to fitness.  He worked out harder and longer than any other pro football player.  He worked harder, prepared better than most of NFL players. He committed to taking personal responsibility for his success.  You need to do the same.

Just as I am the only one who can make me a success, you are the only one who can make you a success.  Become willing to do things that others are unwilling to do – and this can be a million little things like staying late to finish a project, offering to help others with their projects, offering solutions to the problems you identify, keeping your clothes in good repair; shining your shoes; rehearsing your presentations out loud; proofreading your emails, not just relying on spell check; staying up-to-date on your company, your competitors and your industry, building relationships with important others.

If you already do these kinds of things, bravo.  You’re in the minority.  Too many people do only what they have to.  Successful people always go the extra mile.  By doing so, they turn hot water into steam.  As Jerry Rice says, they do the things others won’t.

Think for a minute.  What are the kinds of things that you can do that go above and beyond, that demonstrate your commitment to your own success?  Make a list.  Then go about doing these things regularly.

All of this comes down to two words: activity and persistence.  Set high goals for yourself every year.  Begin each year in high gear and then kick it into overdrive.  Then persist until you achieve all of your goals.  Commit to activity and persistence.

My friend, Mike Litman has some interesting things to say about all of this…

“Activity.  Activity.  Activity.  Too many people are standing still.  Too much pondering, too little action.  Too much scatteredness, too little focus.  Too much talk, too little results.  Commit to filling every day with activity.  Be 1% more active every day.  Start at 1% and keep going.  When you stand still too long, moving becomes real tough.  Very tough.  Every day, take at least one action that moves you forward.”

Activity and persistence will make you an outstanding performer and put you on the road to success.

Be willing to put in the time necessary to create the life and career success you want and deserve.  Successful people do whatever it takes to succeed.  They are active and they are persistent.  The law of inertia says that a body in motion tends to stay in motion.  That’s why activity is so important.  Once you get moving, it’s easier to stay moving towards your goals.  And it’s easier to persist in the face of problems and setbacks.  To paraphrase Muhammad Ali: “Inside a ring or out, ain’t no shame in going down.  It’s staying down that’s shameful.”  Persistent people don’t stay down; they get back up and keep moving.  Make activity and persistence your watchwords.  You’ll amaze yourself with how much you will accomplish, and the life and career success you will create.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.

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