Maybe you’ve heard the story of Dick Hoyt and his son, Rick. Rick was born so severely disabled that the doctors told his parents to put him in an institution so he could be cared for, but his parents refused and took their son home with them. Rick has been confined to a wheelchair his entire life, but that hasn’t deterred him. His parents got him a computer so he could communicate. Despite all of his challenges, he graduated from high school and college.
One day Dick and Rick entered a five-mile charity run and completed the race, with Dick pushing Rick’s wheelchair the entire five miles. That led Rick to ask his father to run a marathon together. At that point in his life, Dick had already suffered a heart attack, but he agreed, and together father and son ran a marathon. Then another.
Rick’s next request? To compete in an Ironman triathlon, a grueling race by all accounts. Ironman contestants swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and then run a full marathon (26.2 miles). Again, Dick agreed to his son’s request. He swam the 2.4 miles pulling Rick behind him in a raft. He biked the 112 miles on a specially designed bike that allowed Rick to sit in front and enjoy the ride. And he ran the 26.2 miles pushing Rick in a wheelchair. That was the first Ironman for Rick and Dick but not the last.
If you haven’t seen one of the many videos on YouTube about Rick and Dick Hoyt, I’d encourage you to take a look. It’s an incredible story!
So what does this story have to do with business? Maybe nothing; maybe a lot. I don’t think you can separate your work life from the rest of your life. I don’t think you can separate who you are at work from who you are in the rest of your life. Dick Hoyt would tell you that the lesson he hopes to share is that you can do anything if you put your mind to it—if you care enough to dedicate yourself to a goal.
That’s certainly a lesson we all can apply at work.
But to me there’s more we can take from this inspirational story. Here are four lessons we can learn from Rick and Dick Hoyt and what they have accomplished together:
- Perseverance. Both father and son have demonstrated a great deal of perseverance. Rick’s life has been a testament to his ability to persevere. And Dick has certainly shown persistence as he pursued the fulfillment of his son’s dreams. It couldn’t have been easy for either, but they persevered and succeeded.
- Passion. The passion you feel at work may not be able to match a father’s love for his son, but the power of the passion you have for your work can propel you forward just the same. Dick’s love for his son has helped him accomplish things he probably never dreamed of, just like your passion for your work can do the same for you.
- Dedication. It wasn’t Dick who dreamed of doing these things; it was Rick’s vision. But Dick embraced it wholeheartedly and dedicated himself to accomplishing what Rick dreamed of. Dick was wholly committed to achieving a goal and did just that.
- Faith. Rick had complete faith in his father. He had confidence that Dick could and would succeed. He trusted that his father was capable of competing and succeeding despite all the obstacles that stood in his way. It’s amazing how a little faith in a person can be the difference between success and failure.
There are times at work when you must persevere. At some point, things are going to get really difficult, and the ability to persevere will become necessary. At other times, unbridled passion for what you do—that burning desire to get the job done because you truly love what you do—will be the key to your success.
In another instance, your dedication to the job at hand—committing yourself to a goal and not stopping until you achieve it—will be the difference between success and failure. And finally, your faith in those around you to do their part to allow you to succeed together will, at some time, be critical if you want to achieve your goals. At some time in your career, you will need to demonstrate all four of these qualities if you want to be successful.