Successful Innovation: It’s a Gritty Business
One Woman’s Swimsuit
Did you know that before the women’s one piece bathing suit was invented, women basically swam in a dress? The style of swimwear was heavy, ugly and dangerous in the water. But no one really fought it because swimming wasn’t considered a hobby or activity.
That all changed because of one woman, Annette Kellerman. Kellerman became a competitive swimmer as a young girl to overcome a weakness in her legs. She began completing large endurance races, including swimming across the Thames river and attempting to swim the English Channel. She was the first woman to do so. Her success made her a star, but she had to do it all in a men’s swimsuit.
So what did she do? She created the first women’s one piece swimsuit. At the time her right to do so was very controversial, and she was even arrested once for indecency! But she persevered because she knew that the current styles were dangerous. Thanks to her women can now safely swim without the fear of drowning because of heavy clothing!
It Takes Persistence
Kellerman’s life is a tribute to perseverance, hard work ingenuity. She later used her popularity to start a career on the vaudeville stage and She was always looking for ways to succeed, and she often did.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” ~ Calvin Coolrige
In the Forbes article, The 40% Rule the Simple Secret to Success by Chris Meyers, we are reminded, that there are many books on business but, few speak to the immutable truth about what separates top performers from the rest. Chris talks about the people who can do more, push harder, and endure more than what we commonly believe to be possible. This rare trait goes by many names; grit, perseverance, dedication, ambition, but the name that I think best describes it is “the 40% rule.”
Successful innovators are most often disruptors of an industry status quo. The successful part of being an innovator is not only seeing a solution but, having the combination of ambition, and grit to hold on the path as well as, the humility to understand what you do not know and create a trusted circle of advisors.
So next time you go for a swim, remember Kellerman’s hard work and feel a little inspired. As an innovator, a gritty visionary you can see a problem and think of a solution and see it through…. no matter what! You can find a way to succeed even when the world tells you no.
As we’ve all learned from Dory, in the children’s movie “Finding Nemo,” “Just keep swimming.”
I am inspired by many successful innovators that have changed the world. Share a name of a story of someone that comes to mind for you. They may be in your own family or living next door.
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