I get told this a lot: “You’re so lucky.” Lucky that your business has grown. Lucky that you live in the country on 3 acres of land. Lucky that you get to travel so much. People, luck has NOTHING to do it. The fact is, I’ve worked really stinking hard to get where I am today.
When I was in elementary school, I would enter singing contests. I won a lot of medals, mostly because my mom was a music teacher and she strategically picked out songs that fit my voice and range. She set me up for success—it was no accident.
In high school, as I shifted my focus to playing piano, I never won a “Superior” ranking in the high school contests. I always came up short, taking home an “Excellent” ranking. I was studying with a phenomenal piano teacher who was more concerned with my proper technique than showy pieces that would win me medals. That hard work paid off when I got to college. My piano teacher was pleasantly surprised at my level of proficiency with classical music and with my sight-reading abilities. Neither were accidents—I had teachers pouring into me, teaching me those skills.
All through college, as I worked toward my major in music, I didn’t really stand out in the crowd. There were always pianists better than me. Vocalists that got chosen first. I kept my focus on my practicing and studying, not really worrying about comparison. I left nothing to “luck” or “chance.” I just worked really stinking hard.
In May of my senior year of college, when the college professors announced the end-of-year awards, I was distracted, looking down at a paper in my lap. I wasn’t even looking up when they called my name for Music Graduate of the Year. My friend sitting next to me elbowed me and hissed, “That’s you!” I was completely taken by surprise. I had never ever expected to win an award. But my music professors all saw the same thing in me: Determination and hard work.
When it comes to building my business, I’ve done much of the same thing: I’ve focused on working really, really hard, not worrying about others around me, and with determination, I’ve built Signature School of Music one level at a time. Imagine my surprise when I won “National Studio of the Year” in 2012! And then, in 2013, the city of Rogers awarded me with the “Small to Medium Business Excellence Award!” I was stunned. In fact, I cried. I have never wanted the spotlight—I’ve just wanted to work hard and push myself for results. Sometimes, though, you have to glance up and accept your award. That’s what I did in college, as I walked down the aisle to accept the “Graduate of the Year” award and that’s what I did the last two years for my business awards.
What’s next? Lots of hard work, diligence, sweat and tears. I’ll keep working hard, and I guarantee, whatever success lies in the future is NOT pure luck. It’s the result of diligence, research, prayer, and tears.
Whatever YOU are working for, be encouraged! Your efforts WILL pay off! Stay the course. Keep your eyes focused straight ahead, work hard, and enjoy the ride!
Jen Hickle, Author
Since I was a little girl playing "school" in the garage with the neighbors, all I've ever wanted to do is teach. I'm passionate about passing on knowledge to other people!