Last night I was at the Cheltenham Everyman Theatre Association Christmas Dinner and the after dinner speaker was Maurice Gran.
He writes with Laurence Marks and has written wonderful series such as Holding the Baby, Holding the Fort, Shine on Harvey Moon, The New Statesman and Birds of a Feather and has written for people such as Frankie Howerd. Musicals include Dreamboats and Petticoats.
He spoke about how they got started and said that success was down to 3 factors
His story was fascinating and you can read more on the website, and indeed there was an element of luck. Laurence Marks missed a plan to fly from London to Manchester, instead had to get a train and sat opposite Barry Took. They spoke and later helped them get started, suggesting them for gigs and reviewing their work.
As I listened it reminded me of the work we get success in our career. It’s not just about talent and what we can actually do, we too need the drive to succeed and a bit of luck comes in handy too.
The Importance of talent
Talent, ability, skills. We are recruited for what we can do, but is that enough? You can be the most talented writer, be the most knowledgeable scientist, have the highest level of qualifications but is that going to be enough to be successful? No.
We can think that some people have natural talent, think of Mozart and other child prodigy but they still practiced, and to work hard enough can go a long way to develop our talent.
When Maurice Gran told his story it included a lot of times they were unsuccessful, that scripts weren’t picked up but they were encouraged to keep going.
Drive gets us going, provides us with the oomph to work hard and bounce back from setbacks. For many drive is as importance as talent. We can’t let a setback, set us back. We need to have focus. It is our drive that helps us to achieve our goals. But drive alone is not enough, you could be focused in the wrong direction or you could seek achievement of your own goals and fail to take other people with you.
Are some people luckier than others? Last night I won a prize in the raffle and then a second ticket of mine was pulled out, so I asked for them to draw again, I didn’t want to be seen as greedy! It was nothing to do with me, but sometimes things go our way.
We can sit by someone on a train or at a conference and get into a conversation and this can lead to an opportunity.
We may know someone who knows someone. Our family background can lead to opportunities – we get to go to a particular school and meet people, our family can afford to send us to after school classes to develop our talent.
Some people will attribute their success to luck, but most won’t and luck on its own will never be enough.
You could say I had a lucky break to work on a project that lead to two promotions in a year, but I still had to deliver the work based on both my drive and talent.
It can help us to have a mentor to help us develop our career and create strategies to deal with setbacks.
Talent and drive can often be enough, but can you succeed without the natural talent? Perhaps you have a ‘sponsor’ within your organisation so as your boss gets promoted you follow along, but what if they leave? I’ve seen this happen and their success stops.
Think about your career success, to what extent is it a combination of talent, drive and luck? I’d love to hear from you.