Pat Williams found extraordinary success when he found what he calls his “sweet spot” in life. One of the NBA’s most admired and accomplished executives, Williams is also a sought-after motivational speaker, the author of more than 100 books, and a former professional baseball player.
Williams was once asked what his “secret to success” was. The senior vice president of the Orlando Magic responded with this success formula…
There’s a simple formula for success that I have followed throughout my career. When your greatest talent intersects with your strongest passion, you’ve discovered your sweet spot in life.
Over the years, I’ve met successful people in every walk of life. In almost every highly successful man or woman I’ve met, I’ve recognized a quality I’ve found in myself: these highly successful individuals have learned to apply their greatest talent to the pursuit of their strongest passion in life. They are doing not only what they do well, but what they love most. That is why they are successful.
If you have great passion but no talent, you’re going to fall flat on your face. If you are loaded with talent but doing a job you hate, every day of your life will be drudgery.
But if your passion and your talent are focused intensely on a single goal, you can’t miss.
— Pat Williams, from his book The Success Intersection
When your talent meets your passion, that’s where you’ll find success.
Pat Williams has applied this “success intersection” to his life and reaped the rewards of doing so.
His boyhood dream was to be a major-league baseball player. He had the talent to play baseball for a Division 1 college, to get signed by the Philadelphia Phillies, and to spend a couple years in the minor leagues. However, Williams eventually realized that he didn’t have the talent required to be a major leaguer. So, he continued to pursue his passion for sports and quickly discovered that he did have an extraordinary talent for leadership, salesmanship, and promotion.
By combining his greatest passion with his greatest talent, Williams found a lifetime of success as a sports executive. He helped assemble an NBA championship team (the 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers) and he later helped found an NBA expansion franchise (the Orlando Magic). His career in sports has lasted more than 50 years.
Talent is never enough. You may be naturally talented at something, but if you lack passion—if you don’t love what you’re doing—you’re going get outworked and passed over by those who do have intense passion for their career. (You’re also going to find yourself unhappy and unfulfilled in your profession.)
Passion isn’t enough, either. If you have an intense burning desire for a specific career, but you don’t have the talent required for that career, you’re going to end up frustrated and disappointed.
Of course, both talent and passion can be developed. It takes years of hard work and persistence to develop the talent required for success in any worthwhile field.
Start by pursuing your passion (the things you’re deeply interested in) and work hard to develop your talents along the way. When you pursue your passion, you’ll discover new talents you didn’t know you had—be open to following those talents in new directions.
The important takeaway is that talent alone and passion alone is not enough. To find your sweet spot in life, you have to have both the talent and the passion for something. And when you find this sweet spot, you’ve found your calling.