September 6th, 2013. Allegheny National Forest. Pennsylvania.
Kurt ‘Mountain Man’ Steiner cuts a solitary figure as he steps up to the water’s edge.
Years of training have come down to this one moment.
He begins his wind up, rotating his hips. His arm cocking upwards and back.
Then, like a skeet shoot releasing a clay pigeon, his body whips around, his arm thrusting down.
The stone held in his characteristic grip is released at startling speed and begins its journey across the lake.
What seems like a lifetime later, Kurt has achieved the impossible.
Racking up an incredible 88 skips, he has smashed the stone skimming world record.
A Feat 5 Years in the Making
If you’ve ever tried skipping stones, you’ll appreciate what an incredible feat this is.
On the odd occasion I’m lucky enough to make 5 skips, I feel like the King of the World.
However, Steiner didn’t just pick up a rock and find that he had a natural ability for making them skip.
According to the legend, one day he turned to his wife and announced that he would be quitting his job so that he could dedicate his life to his art.
And so, he did.
But his hard work was rewarded with more than a mere world record.
Experience Equals Results
His experience over the years of tinkering, tailoring and tweaking, produced true innovation.
In many ways Kurt is a pioneer like Einstein and Copernicus before him, because his technique flies in the face of established scientific theory.
Until he created waves in the still waters of the stone skimming world, physicists believed they’d discovered the secrets to the optimal pitch.
They had the angle, the velocity and the spins all worked out.
But while their assumptions were based on optimal environmental conditions and a perfectly flat trajectory, they didn’t account for human ingenuity.
Rather than throw the stone at the angle he wants it to skim through, he throws it down using his whole body to create velocity and spin.
The stone moves so fast that by the time it hits the water, it isn’t going directly down but at an angle that catapults it forward.
You can see it here.
His throwing technique is critical, but Kurt’s achievement relies on so much more.
Over time he’s perfected his stone selection, his stance and his grip.
It’s his commitment to his craft and the experience he’s gained that’s put him at the head of his game and enabled the achievement of his superhuman feat.
Few can catch him and most stone skimmers will never come close to matching him.
The Critical Lesson We Can All Learn from Kurt
The same is true of your business.
It’s your experience and the optimal approach it produces that sets you apart, makes you unique and defines your value.
It’s what puts you at the head of your field.
Don’t keep it a secret.
If you want to stand out, demonstrate the value of your experience. Show your audience what it is capable of achieving for them.
Don’t ignore one of your most valuable assets.