Winning and Losing and Ultimate Goals

November 3, 2008

This weekend my parents joined my sons and me for an out of town trip. My older son had soccer games Saturday and Sunday for a Premier League featuring interstate competition for the top teams in each state association. The good news was I got to leave behind that danged clutter that I’ve committed to face little by little each day. The strange news is the weekend was so much about winning and losing, and why it ever matters, that it shook up my thinking about growing a small business.

Playing in the Premier League is definitely an honor, and it allows teams to play other highly competitive teams. That’s a great way to develop and improve skills and tactics. But the focus of Premier League is to win the league and go to Regional playoffs on the way to a national tournament. Coming in second can be a huge disappointment, unless they happen to take the second team as an alternate that year.

There was more winning and losing in my weekend. My sons root for the Texas Longhorns, so they were disappointed the Longhorns lost on the final play of the football game against Texas Tech. I’ve been a lifelong fan of The Dallas Cowboys, so it was a rough Sunday afternoon for me.

The Longhorns were ranked #1 in college football after beating The Oklahoma Sooners. They only made it a couple of weeks at #1. That’s the story of college football this season. Some of the analysts refer to it as a “curse” – the team ranked #1 is more likely to lose than win each week, and there have been plenty of changes in the top spot. Everybody wants that #1 rank, but the only #1 rank that really matters is the one that is in place at the end of the season, the one that proclaims one team to be national champions.

The Cowboys were considered to be favorites to get into the playoffs and wind up in the Super Bowl back before the season started. The problem is, they don’t play the Super Bowl before the season starts. They make all the teams play sixteen games each, and then place the ones with the best records into a tournament format for the playoffs. You have to win all your playoff games to get to the Super Bowl, and you have to win the Super Bowl to be the champion.

That’s the ultimate goal. Each team is trying to be champion. The Cowboys wanted a chance to win the Super Bowl. The Longhorns wanted a chance to win the national championship game in college football. My son’s team and all the other teams in Premier League want a chance to win the regional championship, because that’s the only way to have a chance to win the national championship, which is, of course, the ultimate-ultimate goal.

But what then? What does a championship do for you? By definition championships are always in the past, so that makes their impact fleeting.

The Longhorns have won the national championship four times before, as recently as 2005. The Cowboys have won five Super Bowls – but not that recently. My son’s team has even won State Cup twice. But for each championship team, as soon as the next season starts they’re back at it again, fighting for the next championship.

Championships don’t last. Nobody can take away a championship team’s place in history, but as soon as a new season starts the championship spot is wide open. You can’t win it for good, once and for all.

What in the world does this have to do with building a small business? It’s about the mindset. When people talk about wanting to work for themselves, they tend to talk in terms of being the biggest, greatest, or best when they have grand dreams, or they worry about failing and not being able to compete when they’re unsure. They look at the number of small business providing a similar product or service and think there’s no way they can climb to the top of the heap.

It’s funny how we don’t usually think the same way about a j-o-b. We don’t think There’s no way for me to be the best area assistant director of customer satisfaction so I shouldn’t even try. We don’t tell our friends There are hundreds of people working in branch offices of banks so I won’t be able to survive. We tend to think something much more simple, like I heard they’re hiring so I can probably get a job.

The corporate titans tend to fight each other for position and survival. But small business is usually more about finding a population that needs what you have to offer and meeting that need. We don’t have to be the best accountant, or nutritionist, or marketing consultant, or professional coach. We just need to be one that a group of people considers to be talented and valuable.

It’s an important reminder for me as I build my coaching skills and develop a plan to grow my business promoting personal development. I don’t have to be a superstar to survive. I just need to be one of thousands who find a group of people to serve, those who need my support and my ideas.

This is also an important idea for me to share with clients who are building small businesses or wondering if they can make it self-employed. It’s fine to have huge aspirations, but it’s not necessary to conquer an industry in order to have a successful small business. All you need to do is play the game you enjoy, work at improving yourself so you keep getting better, and create a few fans along the way.

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey


One Response to “Winning and Losing and Ultimate Goals”

  1. Darcy on November 3rd, 2008 3:58 pm

    Great insights! I am going to share this post with a friend.

Got something to say?