Your NEXT 10,000 Hours-Why Leaders Need to “Stay Hungry”

I could spot it in his eyes and also in his actions.

He was the hungry guy.

He was sitting four rows back from the front. There’s always that one person in my workshops that I seem to notice—focus in on. They strike me as the most intent person in the room—the person trying to squeeze-out every ounce of juice from the training session. These particular people are extremely focused—they put their head down and take bountiful notes. They ask on-point questions during the session and then follow me into the lobby during a break yelling out, “Hey, Joe B., one more question.”

These leaders stand out in the crowd because they are hungry, humble and open. They’re hungry for anything that will help them grow their team—give them an edge.

They are already well into their NEXT 10,000 hours.


If the “10,000 hour” reference eludes you, it’s a theory that was first proffered by a Swedish psychologist named K. Anders Ericsson and then popularized—brought into our everyday vocabulary, by author, Malcolm Gladwellin his 2008 book Outliers.

In Outliers, Gladwell looks at the factors that cause high levels of success. To support his argument, he examines how Bill Gates and The Beatles achieved their extreme success. He suggests that neither were an overnight sensation. Throughout his book, Gladwell mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, asserting that the key to success in any endeavor is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing specific tasks for a total of 10,000 hours.

There are people that swear by Gladwell’s assumptions and also some doubters that debate the hypothesis.

From my perspective, the 10,000-Hour Rule is a very handy standard.

It gives a person new to their position something to hang onto—a clear benchmark of the approximate amount of time they’ll need to invest in their chosen craft to become an expert.

In a popular blog I wrote last year, Freedom Isn’t Free, I referenced the “10,000-Hour Rule”. I explained that I actually practiced it by mistake, never recognizing the block of time as something magical until I’d already retired from my last executive level leadership position. I also wrote on this thing we call, “The Work”, in Chapter 16 of my book, The CAP Equation.

In the blog referenced above I reflected on my long career and told the readers that I believed my “10,000 hours” initially earned me three things in my career:

Freedom. I was reasonably free from control. I didn’t have to work for any person or any company that I didn’t love.

Independence. After my first 10,000 hours, I realized I’d become self-governing, far less dependent on fleeting external motivations or influences. I was battle hardened.

Confidence. The first few years of practice and my moderate success provided me with a great deal of confidence. I began to feel I belonged in the upper echelons.

I was pretty confident and cocky after mastering most of the frontline sales skills. That took thousands of hours. Then I was promoted. Suddenly, I had to learn some new tricks. I decided to invest another 10,000 hours into my career to learn those competencies—the fine art of training, coaching and leadership—as I jumped to the next level. But the key attitude for me was that I was more than willing to do it. I was open and I was hungry. And that’s where this guy I noticed at the meeting was:

He was hungry for knowledge and prepared to start his NEXT 10,000 hours.

In every group I speak to, I know that the Pareto Principle is alive and well. That 20% of the people in the room will takeaway and apply most of what I teach.

Then there’s the rest—the 80%.

They may absorb and apply just 20% of the content. Oh, the 80% have a good time at the meeting. They’ll even take a few things away, incrementally grow and become fine managers.

But they’re not as hungry as the 20%!

As a result, the 20%, the leaders that stay hungry, humble and open, will blow away the rest of the field. It won’t even be a fair race.

Is it as simple as that? Is it as simple as making a decision to stay hungry, humble and open?

It is.

And the genesis of the decision to stay hungry, be humble and remain open comes from your resolve to revisit the reasons you accepted the role of a leader in the first place. I’m suggesting you revisit factors such as your purpose and vision.

Ask yourself a few questions: (And answer them honestly)

  • WHY did I agree to hire, train and coach people?
  • What is my core PURPOSE for doing this work? (Not money…money is a result, not a purpose)
  • HOW will this work CHANGE my life?
  • How will this work change the lives of OTHERS?
  • WHAT do I wish to BUILD?
  • WHO do I want to BECOME?

If you have a clear purpose for doing the work that you’re doing and a clear vision of what you wish to build and become…

…you will naturally begin to become hungry again. You will also be humble and open by default.

As you become hungry again for the knowledge and tools that you’ll need to pass on to your team, you will automatically become committed to putting in your NEXT 10,000 hours.

You won’t even question the cost!

…and, as a bonus, you’ll begin to grow and have some fun again.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and have taken advantage of some of the other blog articles. We do have a brand new and revised group LEADERSHIP coaching program commencing soon.

If you are interested in having more fun and experiencing A LOT more success as a leader, then this low-cost, high value program is for you.

Space is limited and it’s by invitation only.

If you want more information, please send an email to my personal address:

Put “Tell me more about the CAP Leadership Platform Joe B.” in the subject line. 

The CAP Equation, A Foolproof Formula for Unlimited Success in Sales is available on Amazon:

The CAP Equation© website offers tons of good free stuff for commission salespeople and sales leaders. Please go here for free instant access:

Joe Buzzello is a nationally recognized expert on direct selling and sales leadership. He has built legacy sales teams and experienced unprecedented success in individual and business-to-business markets as well as the network marketing industry. Joe has held executive level positions for Fortune 500 companies, but he has never strayed far from the art and science of selling, which he loves. In early 2014, Joe began writing, speaking, and coaching through his proprietary platform, The CAP Equation©. Please visit Joe at:

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3 comments on “Your NEXT 10,000 Hours-Why Leaders Need to “Stay Hungry””

  1. Michelle Hames

    I want to learn more about the upcoming CAP equation leadership training that will be released aoon..

    Thank you,

    Michelle Barrow Hames
    DSC CA-S


      Michelle, I will send you a note (email) this weekend with a little more information. Thanks so much for your interest.


      Michelle, we have another group coaching program coming soon! Let me know if you’d like more information.

      Joe B.

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