An Overnight Success… 25 years in the making by Patrick Henry

I get a weekly email from sales specialist and author Jeffrey Gitomer. One of the columns in each newsletter is written by different Gitomer-certified speakers each week. This week was Patrick Henry’s turn. You can find out more about Patrick Henry here: and more about Jeffrey Gitomer at

This is illustrative in two ways. The story itself is great, but don’t miss the deeper illustration: There are three people who have applied the lesson Patrick is teaching here who are benefitting by me posting this: 1) Patrick himself, 2) Jeffrey Gitomer, and 3) Ted Williams, the subject of the story. I’m giving all three a free plug because they’ve helped me and you do our jobs better. The more you build your name and reputation, the more people will do for you what I’m doing for these gentlemen.

Now to the story itself:

An Overnight Success – 25 Years in the Making
by: Patrick Henry

Ted Williams. The name of a man beloved by generations of Americans throughout the decades. A name that conjures up memories of ballparks, home runs, and heroic slides into home plate. Over the years, the name Ted Williams has become synonymous with excellence in baseball. Until now.

Another Ted Williams has emerged and grabbed America by the heartstrings, bringing new meaning to the name. It is no longer just synonymous with baseball, but also with redemption and second chances.

We have all heard the story. A homeless man was panhandling on a dreary exit ramp in Columbus, Ohio, holding a sign that simply said, “I have a God-given voice. I’m an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times. Please help.” A local news reporter found it interesting, so he asked him to “work for his dollar”. Thanks to a video camera, YouTube, and the law of exponential growth, Ted Williams went from a homeless man to a household name in a matter of days. He has had appearances on the Today Show, radio interviews, and employment offers from around the country. It is estimated that Ted Williams could make upwards of two million dollars this year.

What a story! Drugs and alcohol steal the future of a promising radio announcer, who has now been given a second chance. It’s like winning the lottery. Or is it?

I keep hearing the comparison between Ted William’s story and winning the lottery and I can’t disagree more. I am not blind to the fortuitous circumstances that led to his new found fame, but what is being overlooked in the media is the fact that Ted Williams, despite his faults, was READY.

Lets look at the facts: Ted Williams has natural ability. His voice is deep and rich. He went to school to develop his natural voice into a “voice for radio.” He is no stranger to the control room. He knows the equipment and the process. Ted Williams had his sales pitch down cold: “When you’re listening to nothing but the oldies, you’re listening to Magic 98.9.” When the reporter told him to work for the dollar, Ted Williams didn’t stutter, stammer, or back away. He jumped at the chance to perform what he has so obviously been practicing for years. When the opportunity came, Ted Williams grabbed it and became an overnight sensation…25 years in the making.

What about you? Do you believe in luck – or do you believe that you create your own? The Roman philosopher Seneca said that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Did Ted Williams find himself in his current circumstance because he has a deep voice? No. Many people have deep voices. It is the combination of raw talent, developed talent, and good old-fashioned preparation.

Whether you are in sports, the arts, sales, education, or any myriad of professions, defining moments appear regularly. Most people are not prepared to meet them – and end up missing opportunities.


1. EXCELLENCE IN WHAT YOU DO. According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, mastery is achieved after 10,000 hours of practice. When you practice every day, grabbing the defining moments becomes second nature.

2. FOCUSED EXPERTISE. The more specific you can be in defining what you do, the easier it is to find a fit. Ted Williams didn’t have a sign that said “I have a great voice, put me to work.” His sign captured attention because it was focused on what he is best at doing.

3. AFFABILITY. People want to do business with those whom they like and trust. Ted Williams is a humble, likeable guy. If he had been arrogant or smug, the response would have been negligible. Be nice.

Since his recent rise in fame, Ted has admittedly fallen back off the wagon. Here’s your final lesson: When your preparation meets opportunity and leads to success – protect it. Commit yourself to becoming your personal best, and practice those disciplines every day.

Patrick Henry is a songwriter, author, and Gitomer Certified Speaker who shows clients how to create distinction in the market place and blow away the competition. Patrick’s entertaining programs show audiences what happens when Keynotes, Comedy, and Concerts Collide. To book Patrick for your next event, visit our website at or contact the friendly folks at Buy Gitomer via email or by calling 704-333-1112.


1 Comment

Filed under Reputation building

One response to “An Overnight Success… 25 years in the making by Patrick Henry

  1. Bonus thought from Jim: You may think, “I don’t have 25 years!” Maybe you’re right. Maybe it will only take 15 for you like it did for Dave Ramsey. Maybe the pinnacle you can realistically reach is not as high. Regardless, you won’t have any real success without putting this lesson into practice. If God has called you to this message, he will be faithful to bring you to the Promised Land. But you still have to leave Egypt and walk through the wilderness.

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