21 Jan In Business, Sports and Life, Persistence Pays.
On Sunday, along with over 50 million other viewers, I watched what seemed to be an absolute miracle as the Seattle Seahawks pulled out a last minute win in overtime against the Green Bay Packers.
To say that the Seahawks struggled in the first half of the game would be an understatement. It was quite possibly the worst half of football many of them had ever seen. However, with hard work, determination, and just a little bit of in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time kind of luck, they managed to secure their spot in NFL history, and marked the second time in 5 seasons this club will advance to the Super Bowl.
Sports and Business have an interesting relationship. I suppose it’s because the same principles of leadership and persistence in the face of adversity are applicable in both arenas. Sunday’s game inspired me since I work with business leaders every day who are working hard toward accomplishing their goals, but are often met with significant challenges along the way.
Running a business can be an extremely rewarding experience. However, there are many times when you feel completely beat down. You’ve worked hard, given it everything you have, and put into practice the coaching you’ve received at the hands of the experts. However, there are times when you look around and it seems as if it’s all for nothing.
In Football, a game is won or lost within a couple hours. However, small business wins & losses take place over a much longer period of time. For the weak, they will pack up and go home if they don’t immediately put significant points on the board. I guess that’s to be expected in our on-demand culture. However, the true entrepreneurs, the individuals who have the grit to see it through, understand that building a business is not something that happens in 90 days. They’re committed to the long haul, and are willing to do whatever it takes to make their business work.
Chart a Course and Stick to It
Far too often I have met with small business owners who simply don’t have the stomach to see a marketing strategy through to its successful end. They’ll give it a few weeks or months, but if they don’t perceive results, they’ll pull the plug and try something else. That’ll run for a little while before they shift gears and move in another direction. Truth is, they’ll never see significant results from any of their marketing endeavors, because they haven’t allowed enough time for any of them to make an impact. They make knee jerk reactions based on emotion, rather than charting and staying the course.
Although there are examples of businesses and campaigns that take off and go viral overnight, these are anomalies – not the norm. Don’t set yourself up for failure by expecting this kind of response to your business. If it happens along the way, that’s awesome – celebrate that. But stay the course even if that’s not your experience.
A while back I came across this picture, which is worth far more than a thousand words. It really puts into perspective what we walk away from when we abandon our pursuits. Don’t get me wrong, some businesses will never succeed regardless how passionate you are. You need solid advice from trusted mentors who have the guts to break that hard truth. However, if you have a business that you know can be successful, don’t give up after a season of difficulty. You might be on the edge of greatness.
Stay the course. Keep doing the right things every day that will lead to the win. Don’t focus on making money, money is a byproduct of an organization that creates value for others. Don’t cut corners – it cheapens your brand. Do what’s necessary to survive until you’ve broken through. If that means eating PB&J for breakfast lunch and dinner – so be it. As Dave Ramsay is famous for saying, “If you are willing to live like no one else today, you’ll get to live like no one else tomorrow.” Don’t be short sighted. Don’t give way to the nay sayers. Keep pressing through – the vision you have for your life and business is a good pursuit.
Be Willing to Crash & Burn
We all face times, whether in business or life, when the circumstances seem impossible. Going into the fourth quarter, the Seahawks’ odds were certainly not in their favor. But they didn’t give up. They prayed like everything was dependent on God, and worked like it was all dependent on them. What happened? Their undying determination to win created an opportunity when many would have already given up. Their countless hours of practice and study prepared them for this moment and, after 55 minutes of setbacks and hardships, they came from behind and won the game in the last 5 minutes.
May the same be true for you and your business this year. Keep pushing, and don’t give up. If you do the day to day work, when opportunity presents itself, you’ll be ready to celebrate as you elevate your business to the next level. It might take everything you have, but if you’re not willing to crash and burn, you’ll never accomplish anything worthy of your efforts.