As promised, this is the second half of this post focused on business lessons I’ve learned while doing things that had nothing to do with business (continued from March 2022).
6. Another lesson learned horseback riding. We were out in a big field and suddenly my horse turned around and decided to head back to the barn at a pace far faster than I was used to riding. I think he heard the dinner bell and was hungry. As he came to a small gully, he decided to jump it (I was taking Western lessons and jumping isn’t part of the protocol). As he cleared the gully I was left trying to regain my balance with one foot in a stirrup and one nearly on top of the saddle. As I went whizzing by the instructor, he shouted “Hang on, ride ‘em”. Not sure I saw any other choice. At times, business can be a wild ride and you have little choice but to hang on and ride it out.
7. I’ve twice been to the BMW Car Control School in Spartanburg, South Carolina. At the end of the day is a series of one on one races against other students around a circular track which is being sprayed with water. I went undefeated my second time there. Trying to go too fast, you’ll spin out and unless your competitor does the same, you won’t have time to recover. The key to winning this race is finding and holding the right driving line and being very consistent on the gas. There are times in business when you need to put the pedal to the floor and go for all out speed. There are also times when slow, steady progress carries the day. In any situation, it’s important to understand which is required to win.
8. We recently took a Florida vacation and chartered a sailboat for a couple of hours. Shortly after leaving the dock the captain asked me to take the helm for a few minutes while he went below. I’m sure this job usually fell to his wife, but she couldn’t make the trip that morning. He didn’t take back the helm until we were heading back into port. Too often, I see the owner of a small company trying to do too much themselves because they don’t believe anyone else can perform a certain task. With a little trust and proper oversight, they might be surprised.
9. I love to snow ski. The first time out west I was definitely bringing up the rear of my ski group. I started taking some time away from the group for lessons and it wasn’t long before I could keep pace (not that any of us were world class skiers). If there is a skill you don’t have, get some help. Whether it’s an athletic coach or a business coach, there is someone out there who can help if you seek them out and invest the time and money to improve yourself. And what better investment than in yourself?
10. Recently, I headed out on a very rainy morning only to find the police turning cars around due to a flooded road, I tried an alternate route and found more flooding. As I headed toward a third path, I could see cars doing U-turns up ahead. There are times when it is important to stay the course. There are also times when it’s important to wait until conditions are more favorable and provide a higher likelihood of success.
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