Ask Tim

Consistent Success

Executive Director Tim Lawrence has known SkillsUSA as a student member, instructor, industry partner and state director. Got a question? He can help.

Q: I competed in a SkillsUSA event last year and I didn’t win a medal. My instructor is asking me to try again, but why should I?

Tim: First, you’re in excellent company. Software developer Bill Gates, real estate tycoon Donald Trump and inventor Thomas Edison all endured many failures before becoming the successes we know today. They kept at it, faced their challenges and learned from their experiences.

Competition is a fact of life. Whether you’re entering a local skill contest, trying out for an athletic team or applying for a job, there will always be other people with the same goal as yours. The good news is that most people get better with practice.

While preparing for SkillsUSA competition, you’ll practice your skills until they become second nature. About 10,000 of our contests are held every year, starting with classroom events and culminating in the $25 million nationals. For most students, including myself back in 1969, competition day is something you’ll be able to vividly recall even many years later.

At every level, SkillsUSA’s winners have a few things in common. They take time to review the technical specifications for their events, practice these skills again and again, and have the correct clothing and tools. For them, success is in the details. A few points often make the difference between standing on the winners’ plat-form and observing from the audience.

Consistency is a character trait successful people have in abundance. Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles played in 2,131 consecutive major-league baseball games. That’s every single game for more than 13 years. To equal his record as an employee, you’d have to work eight hours a day, five days a week for eight years, one month and 20 days and never call in sick! Working at his craft consistently, Ripken compiled a string of successes: two MVP awards, 12 consecutive all-star games and more home runs than any other major-league shortstop.

If you want to work toward competing at the SkillsUSA Championships, “tap into your inner Cal.” You may not win at every level, but if you keep applying your skills, you will eventually be a success — whether in a contest or, more importantly, by attaining the life you desire.

It’s been said that “90 percent of success in life is just showing up.” It’s not quite that easy, but showing up is the first step in building a path of personal success. Keep on showing up, and you’ll see. End of story

Got questions about SkillsUSA or other topics? E-mail or send a letter to SkillsUSA / P.O. Box 3000 / Leesburg, VA 20177. Put “Ask Tim” in the subject line or mail address.

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SkillsUSA Champions | Winter 2004 | Volume 38, No. 2
Copyright ©2004 SkillsUSA. All rights reserved.