Life is like a box of Hurdles

My senior year of high school I was the top ranked hurdler in the state, anything short of a state championship was going to be unacceptable.  All season long I used the same steps, 22 to the first hurdle, 15 between the first 4 hurdles, then 16, 16, and finish with 17 for the final hurdles.

hurdle dudeI went undefeated all year, I was primed to win state. Going in, I had the fastest time, top seed and the best lane.  I had already set the school record and the conference record, how close can I get to the state record?

Well, I came out of the blocks and everything fell apart, all my adrenalin surged through me and took off like a madman.  My steps were wrong to the first hurdle and I had to alternate my lead leg, I was going 14 steps in between hurdles so this was a huge problem.  I was way out in front but I wasn’t running my race, I was just going for it.

My stride shortened by hurdle 4, it was a stretch, on hurdle five I basically ran through the hurdle but I was still leading.  Then, on hurdle 6 something happened for the first time ever for me, I went down, hard.  When I got back to my feet and finished the race it hit me, that was it, no finals, no more records, I blew it.

This turned out to be a big moment in my life, I’ve used that situation as an example ever since.

The exact same thing happens all the time to small businesses.  They have all these great ideas how they’re going to set the world on fire and carry themselves by pure adrenalin and ambition.  Then, without strategy, tactics and patience they eventually fail.  It may not be the first hurdle that gets you but eventually something comes up that takes you down.

So, take your time, do your research, make a plan and then stick to it.  This will give you a much better chance to finish the race.