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This ‘Birdman’soared after his goals

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

“Birdman” Tony Hawk became the best skateboarder in the world—with 70 first-place titles and credit for inventing 80 tricks—because he kept setting higher goals.

In a sport with no real season, final game or trophy, Hawk pursued improvement relentlessly. Like the skateboarders and snowboarders who came after him, Hawk stayed focused on reaching the next goal, even if it meant injury or flubbing a competition because he was trying to master the next level instead of playing it safe for the judges. In doing so, he helped legitimize the sport.

Here’s a seminal moment from Hawk’s story:

A year after he started boarding, 10-year-old Hawk became so engaged in the activity that he gave up Little League baseball and began competing.

One day at the skate park, Hawk practiced for hours on mastering inverts. When his parents arrived to pick him up for dinner, he ignored them. Finally, Hawk’s father pulled him out of the skate bowl, kicking and screaming. Hawk broke away, wheeled around and yelled: “Dad! If you’d just let me try it 500 more times, I would have it!”

It made sense to him at the time, Hawk says.

In fact, that “practice makes perfect” mentality still governed Hawk’s life even after his pro career ended in 1999. Besides endorsing shoe and clothing lines, a skateboard company and nonprofit group, Hawk entered the video game business, a tough market at first because skateboarding was a niche sport.

The first software developer quit, but Hawk hung in there. To date, his video games have racked up more than $1 billion in sales.

—Adapted from “Chairman of the Skateboard,” Kasey Seymour, Investor’s Business Daily.

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