Tag Archive for 'small business motivation'

Admiring two kinds of American heroes

Every four years, you can watch special people participate in a noble cause – the Olympics.
These heroes commit countless hours over many years to achieve a level of excellence that might somehow qualify them to represent their country in the Olympic Games.

Notice no mention of winning, medals or glory. Most Olympians find neither. And yet they train and compete.

Watching an event, we’re at once self-conscious and grateful as the camera’s lens permits us to invade that private moment just prior to competition. Self-conscious because of the intrusion, but grateful to share the moment and benefit vicariously from the Herculean effort and sacrifice.

The TV camera moves in closer. We can actually see the color of their eyes — even imagine their thoughts.

The swimmer: “Twelve years of training and it all comes down to the next few seconds – must remember the fundamentals.”

The gymnast: “Today I will perform my personal best.”

Then the long lens captures the mouth. There’s a lick to fight the cottonmouth that only those who risk failure have tasted. The lips move ever so slightly, as if to offer a short prayer or claim an affirmation.

Every day, you can watch another group of special people participate in a noble cause – small business.
Small business owners are a lot like Olympic athletes. They commit countless hours over many years, pushing mind and body to achieve a level of excellence that might somehow allow them to merely … make a living.

Notice no mention of winning, medals or glory. Most small business owners find neither. And yet they show up, year after year, to work, compete, and contribute.

Like an Olympic race, sometimes the future of a small business’ success rides on how well the owner performs over a very short period of time. If the camera could take you in close, you might see an owner thinking: “All these years of work and risk could come down to how well I deliver this proposal in the next few minutes - must remember the fundamentals.”

The long lens would also capture the lick to lessen the cottonmouth that only those who risk failure have tasted. Then the lips move ever so slightly, as if to offer a prayer or claim an affirmation.

Olympians and small business owners are dedicated to what they love. Both work hard, in search of excellence, take great risks against all odds, and usually at their own expense.

I’ll gladly spend my admiration on that kind of spirit.

Write this on a rock … Because of Olympians and small business owners, the world is a better place.

Until Next Time: Learn from your failures

Billy Joel is a pretty fair musician and singer, but he’s a world-class songwriter. He and I were born on the same day, so perhaps that’s why I like his words. One of my favorite Joel lyrics is from the song, “Second Wind,” “You’re not the only one who’s made mistakes, but they’re the only things that you can truly call your own.”

We’re not likely to learn much when we succeed because we think it’s a result of our being so smart. Who wants to think about lessons when there’s so much self-congratulating to do, right?

When we fail, we have more time to reflect on what happened because there’s less celebrating. Use the time wisely; don’t wallow around feeling sorry for yourself. Claim your failures. Remember what Billy said, “… they’re the only thing that you can truly call your own.”

All of the great minds of history were well acquainted with failure. There are so many examples of world-changing discoveries that resulted from perseverance in the ace of bitter, demoralizing failures. Thomas Edison is said to have observed that, “Failure is successfully identifying what doesn’t work.” What if your last failure is actually a discovery of something that no one else knows?

In one of my favorite books, The Words Lincoln Lived By, by my friend, Gene Griessman, I found this Lincoln quote on adversity, “I find quite as much materials for a lecture in those points wherein I have failed, as in those wherein I have been moderately successful.”

So, it’s official: You learn more from your failures than from your successes. And if you don’t believe me and Billy, you have to believe Honest Abe.

I’ll leave you with the chorus to Billy’s song. “Don’t forget your second wind. Sooner or later you’ll feel that momentum kick in.”

Think of these words next time you fail.

Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio and the Internet.




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