Another year has gone. We are looking back at the routes we took over the last 12 months and analysing the choices we made. And most important, we are making a plan for next year.
This is part of the realities of life and business. So what are some of the takeaways I’m carrying with me for this year? I will use my favourite metaphor-sports.
Stick to your plan
A year is a long time. Anything can happen—you must stick with your plan. There are so many ups and downs. You need to work through them, stick to your goals and keep to the plan. Have faith that if you do the right things, it will all work out on the other side.
In boxing, one of one of the earliest lessons you learn is how to pace yourself, how to stay relaxed when you need to and how to ensure you can go the distance. You can’t go full out the entire fight. You learn when to use maximum energy and when to conserve your strength so you make sure you last the distance.
Pacing yourself and your business is about using energy on the things that have the most impact and not wasting it on those that don’t. Successful leaders know when to push for a deadline and when to reset, when to ask more from their team and when to ease up, most of all they have worked out the few things that make the biggest impact and they put their energy into achieving them.
The person who sets the pace usually wins. Set the pace and control your fight.
Failure is part of the game
Pamela Jelimo is the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic gold medal and also the first Kenyan to win the Golden League Jackpot. She holds both the 800m world junior record and the senior African record over the same distance. Jelimo is also one of the youngest women to win an Olympic gold medal for Kenya. She won that 800 m Olympic gold when she was only 18 years old.
Jelimo was bogged down by a string of injuries after her Olympic triumph in Beijing and spent the following three years fighting to make a comeback with little success.
However, early this year, her star started shining at local races after which she won the World Indoor Championship title and qualified for the Olympics where she reached the final and finished fourth behind the winner Mariya Savinova of Russia, Caster Semenya of South Africa and Ekaterina Poistogova of Russia.
Just like Jelimo, small business owners too must learn to endure “hard punches” in order to achieve business success. Small businesses people must learn that business failure is part of business cycle.
If a certain process or product fails, you should find out what happened. You should learn from the mistake and come up with ways to mitigate failure in future. What most business owners do is repeat the same mistake again and again expecting different results. That’s what Einstein calls insanity.
It’s your journey
You must put in the time in order to do your best; there are no shortcuts in sports or life. If you don’t put in the training, map out your plan, and execute on your plan, then you shouldn’t expect to perform at a high level.
There will always be someone who is faster than you. Playing the compare and contrast game is a losing proposition with no sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Your number one goal should be to win against yourself. As long as you are constantly getting better than you, you will be unstoppable! 2013 is going to be a lot of work, but I’m looking forward to it. There will be inspiration everywhere and miracles will happen every day. I can’t wait.
Mr Waswa is the managing director, OutdoorsAfrica. Email: email@example.com