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How Steven Bradbury Can Make You a Better Blogger

Posted By Darren Rowse 26th of January 2007 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Steven-BradburyWarning – Tangent Ahead

Today is Australia Day here in Australia (a public holiday). As part of this annual celebration – when we eat a lot of BBQ lamb (BBQ), play backyard cricket and watch the Tennis and Cricket (could the Aussies have demoralized the English any more?) – a hundred or so Aussies are put on the ‘Australia Day honors list’. The list usually acknowledges Aussies who have made some sort of contribution – whether it be in business, charity, sport etc.

This year one of those honored was Steven Bradbury.

You might remember him from the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics when he did this:

The story is actually a little more remarkable than this video of the final shows.

In the quarter final Bradbury came third (only the first two go through) but one of the others who finished ahead of him was disqualified, meaning he advanced to the semi final.

In the semi final Bradbury was coming last when three others in the race crashed leaving him to come second and advance to the final.

Steve Bradbury’s ‘lucky’ win in the 1000 meters speed skating is video footage that gets played regularly on Australian TV and he’s become something of a symbol of the Aussie Spirit (he even had a postage stamp – above) – although we do laugh at him a fair bit too and his name is sometimes spoken with a giggle or two as we remember Australia’s first Gold Medal at a Winter Olympics (in fact someone told me it was the first Gold Medal for anyone in the whole Souther Hemisphere).

It’s not uncommon to hear people use the phrase ‘he did a Bradbury’ to describe events where fortune seem to fall in the lap of someone. It’s even in some Aussie slang dictionaries now.

I heard Steven Bradbury interviewed on the radio this afternoon and as usual he was introduced with the usual chuckle from the interviewer.

During the course of the interview I learned a few things about Steve that I’d not heard or considered before.

  • 2002 was Steven’s 4th Olympics
  • He’d previously won a Bronze medal in the 5000 meter relay in 1994.
  • In 1994 he had been the favorite of the 1000m but collided with a competitor and was knocked out of contention.
  • Steven had been a 3 time world champion medalist (Gold 1991, Silver – 1994 and Bronze – 1993)
  • Steve overcame two life threatening crashes of his own in his career. Once in 1994 he was impaled on a skate and needed 111 stitches and lost 4 liters of blood. In 2000 he broken his neck in training (he also fractured his skull in a bike riding accident)

So why am I talking about Steve Bradbury on a blog about blogging?

I love to learn from successful people so as I listened to Steve Bradbury being interviewed today I asked myself:

‘what could a blogger learn from him?’

Two main things came to mind.

1. The 12 Year ‘Hard Slog’

As I listened to Steve talk about his 12 years of sacrifice, hardship and commitment this afternoon it struck me that there was so much more to his story than ‘the moment’ that all Aussies remember in 2002.

While that moment perhaps defines him in the minds of many – in his mind he was defined by what preceded the moment. This is what he was talking about when after the race he said:

“Obviously I wasn’t the fastest skater. I don’t think I’ll take the medal as the minute and half of the race I actually won. I’ll take it as the last decade of the hard slog I put in.”

When I first started to see a few dollars come in from my blogging I’ll admit that there were moments when I had dollar signs in my eyes. I remember a few nights not being able to sleep as I’d dream of all the ways I could make quick and easy money from blogging. I quickly discovered however that ‘easy money’ or ‘quick money’ are not really words that many bloggers ever see from blogging.

This is a message that some new bloggers don’t seem to grasp. I speak to at least one a week with grand dreams of quick riches.

While I admire the excitement and passion of these bloggers – the reality is that blogging for money is a ‘hard slog’ with a lot of work, commitment and sacrifice. While there may be no physical injuries sustained (although I’ve had my worries on that level) you might even take a fall or two along the way that you need to push through in order to find success.


2. Put Yourself in a Position to Win

In today’s interview Steve talked about his strategy in the final. The fact was that he was the oldest guy in the field and after four races to make the final he was exhausted.

He didn’t expect to win but thought if he could just stay in touch with the leaders yet far enough away to avoid any falls he might be able to capitalize on one of them taking a tumble (as happens in speed skating). You can see that he slotted straight into the back of the field from the firing of the gun.

He never dreamed that all four would take a tumble (he was hoping for one last bronze before retiring) but decided to put himself in a position to benefit from any opportunities came his way.

While one group of bloggers that I talk to have unrealistic expectations of quick money in their eyes – another group that I bump into from time to time are those who talk a lot about what they’re going to do with their blogging but who never seem to do anything about it.

In order to be successful in any area of life you’ve got to put yourself in a position to be successful. If you’re not willing to enter the race – what chance do you have of winning it?

There comes a time when there’s enough talk and the only thing left to do is start something.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. What an inspiring story – I hadn’t realised all the effort he had put into achieving that one moment of success. Thanks fro sharing this with us.

  2. I salute you for an excellent post.
    I decided long ago that my blog would probably never generate neither money nor traffic to my site. Its only purpose would be to keep my existing clients in the loop.

    That decision took a load off, and helped me relax a bit when it came to “performing” well on the blog.

  3. Steve is a person of action.
    He does stuff. While many are talking, he’s doing. As boring and old-fashioned as it sounds, your Grand-dad was right when he said “there ain’t no substitute for hard work”. In science we would call this a correlation between investment of energy and outcome.

    People sprinkle conversations with terms like destiny, fate, chance and luck, so they don’t actually have to take responsiblity for their reality. Good on you Steve for creating your own opportunity to win!

  4. Very inspiring story indeed, thank you for sharing this great Aussie story to us… I think I’ll let my readers know about this as well… it’s just too inspiring to pass up…

  5. Excellent point, oftentimes it’s about working very very hard so that when luck does favor you, you are in position to capitalize on it. In the US, though not as popularized because it’s both deep into history and not athletic competition, you could look at the perseverance and diligence of one Abraham Lincoln in his numerous political losses prior to becoming one of the most storied Presidents in our nation’s history for comparison.

    I can’t imagine being impaled on a skate…

  6. Happy Australia Day. I heard of it via http://www.misscellania.com this year.

    Canada Day isn’t until July 1, and by then it ought to be warm enough here to have a good time.

    I think I saw that medal win when it happened.

  7. There is no real Sweden day, now that I think about it. Sure – a national holiday, but no actual Celebration.


  8. Great post thanks for sharing the story with the rest of us. A perfect metephor for blogging.

  9. What a great story. Thanks for posting the video. It made me smile today.

    That’s the great thing about blogging. You never know what will make people smile, cry or laugh outloud. It’s fun just being in the game and being able to offer this to people.

    Great post!

  10. One of the best inspirational stories about blogskating I’ve ever read.

  11. Uh, yeah, great illustration.

    Now that I think I have gotten over being in the first group of wrong-thinkers (even though it’s never been all about money, I guess I still expected it to just flow in), I am probably in danger of finding myself in the second.

    I’d better get back to work.

  12. Happy Aussie Day ! A very inspiring story indeed….

  13. Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina :)
    I can’t stop viewing the video! That’s incredible.
    Many thanks for the story and reflections about blogging ;)


    Damian Profeta

  14. This is very true – you make your own luck. “Destiny” and “chance” are, I agree, for people who want to find something to blame other than themselves for not achieving what they want.

    When I first came here I was not even looking to make money from my blog, but I thought Problogger was useful for design tips, getting readers etc. My personal blog, Let’s Take Over is very political, but I chose to give it a strong ‘hometown’ flavour, as opposed to most political blogs, which really could come from anywhere, as far as you can tell from the content.

    Then I thought that I may as well subscribe to the job boards, even though most of the jobs were for people to blog about celebrities, gadgets or movies.

    But then this job for people to blog their own cities turned up, I applied, and though I did not get one of the first round jobs, I have just started blogging at Brisbane is Home in the second wave of city blogs for Home Turf Media.

    That would never have happened if I had not kept my eye on what was going on here, and keep thinking about opportunities.

    What I find really interesting is how my original decision to concentrate on local issues for my political blog put me in the perfect position to apply for the business opportunity. If you think you have a good idea, keep pushing at it, even if you’re not always sure where it’s going.

  15. […] Uma versão resumida do que o Daren escreveu no Problogger é que tudo leva o seu tempo e que trabalho duro compensa quer seja a curto, médio ou longo prazo. E se temos uma oportunidade para o ouro devemos aproveita-la por mínima que ela seja. […]

  16. A belated happy Australia Day to you Darren! Aren’t you proud that an aussie is leading the way in blog-world domination?

    We had Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald here in Port Lincoln tossing a 10kg tuna!

  17. Excellent post Darren. Really enjoyed the analolgy the message hit home :-).

  18. Great video, I will forgive the reminder of England’s humiliation at cricket,- thankfully it is not on terrestial TV over here. The story kind or reminds me of a kind of “hero” Britian once had in Eddie the Eagle Edwards. He somehow managed to enter the ski jump in the winter olympics, He finished so far behind the rest of the field it was embarrassing, but the British took him to be a hero and for a while he was a great celebrity, probably won sports personality of the year or something. Anyway could explain why we don’t always win at sport…

  19. Thanks Darren for posting that video and article.

    That’s no only good advice for blogging, but for any business venture. Everyone wants to make money the “quick and easy” way these days. It just doens’t happen all that often. And many times when you see someone who got lucky and made a quick score, it’s gone in a flash. Easy come, easy go.

    Slow and steady wins the race….remember the Tortoise and Hare story? (here in the South, it’s called the Rabbit and Turtle, but I digress :) ) It’s the same in any business. You have to be in it for the long haul an many peopel just don’t have the stomach for a long fight.


  20. This was a great post for me. I ‘live’ in Salt Lake City, was here in 2002, and I missed this great story. Thanks.

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