I spent the last weekend on a run with a Nashville-based group called the Downtown Band. We played a show in Cincinnati that wrapped up late- 2:30 AM. 


As we tore down, it struck me that even after an insanely long 20 hour day, everybody was still busting tail to get packed up. Every person of the 10-man band wasn’t just going through the motions of doing the hard work of getting around 2,000 lbs of gear packed, down two stories in a freight elevator, and into the trailer. They were doing it fast and really well. 


Everyone in the group is a successful Nashville musician (many of them touring with the top artists in Nashville), and this 2:30 AM vignette perfectly sums up why they are successful: these people know how to work really, really hard. 


Each member has spent their lifetimes practicing the art that is busting butt when you’re absolutely exhausted, running on short sleep, hungry, under tremendous pressure, and when you just don’t feel like working any more. This isn’t something you’re born with, it’s an earned skill set that takes years of dedication to develop. 


Talent is important, and skill matters. But grit is what keeps you in the game long enough to be successful.