Do this first, skip the humiliation later

What was your most humiliating moment?

Mine was near the end of my sophomore year in high school one clear evening at a track meet.  But not just any track meet.  A track meet against our rival school over in the next town.  It was the biggest meet of the year, both from a team standpoint and socially.  Normally I ran the 200m, but for whatever reason the coach asked me to take part in the 4 x 100 relay.  I thought it was an odd request to ask at the track meet since I had never done the relay before, not even in practice.  But they wanted me to run the second leg so I obliged.  

So how does this whole passing the baton thing work?” I asked.  My teammate quickly explained things to me.  “When I say go, you start running and stick your hand out.  Then I’ll pass it to you,” or something like that she responded.  Leading up to the race I could hear others buzzing about how this was going to be a good matchup between our two schools.  And it definitely had the potential to be.  

If only it hadn’t ended in disaster.  When the gun went off, my teammate running first leg took off and had us in a great position.  I heard her yell go, and I started to run.  I had my hand out, but never felt the baton.  I looked back to see where she was so we could make the handoff, then somehow, someway the baton ended up on the ground.  As did I.  Needless to say the handoff did not go well.  And there I was, all scraped up physically and emotionally.  I was mortified!

I spent the rest of the meet underneath the bleachers hiding out.

Not too long after that night I quit the track team.   

Why was I on the track team anyway?

I’m not exactly sure why.  Basketball was my sport.  I think maybe at some point someone suggested that running track would help me on the basketball court. I certainly wasn’t on the team because I enjoyed running.  

So when things got hard, and the reasons to not be on the team far outweighed any reason to stay on it, I made a decision.  Me and track didn’t mix.

What does all this have to do with your business?

Making the decision to start your business is a big deal.  Whether you are doing it part time or full time, it’s still a big decision and a major commitment.  But as with most things, and especially when it comes to building a business, there will be good days and there will be bad days.  

And if you’re not rock solid on the purpose behind why your business exists, then you’re setting yourself up for a rocky road ahead.  It may not be to the level of disaster that I experienced on the track that night all those years ago, but it may cause you unnecessary trouble that may be harder to bounce back from than the bruised ego of a fifteen year old.

Clearly defining the mission of your business is the most important thing you can do in setting yourself up to achieve the dream you have for it.  It sets the foundation for every decision you make and every activity you engage in with regard to your business.  

If I had focused my time on advancing my mission at that point in my life, I never would have joined the track team.  My focus in high school was to get a full scholarship to college.  And as much as I loved playing basketball, I knew my ticket to getting that scholarship was going to come from academics.  And it did.  So joining the track team made even less sense.  The joys of hindsight!

You have the ability to use your foresight!  So use it to skip the detours in achieving the dream you have for your business by clearly defining your purpose.  Then you can reap the many rewards that come with doing so, such as using it as a guide for which activities to engage in, and which ones to pass on.

Check out chapter one of Delight Inside for more information on establishing your purpose for your business.  Included in the chapter you’ll find details on:

  • Benefits of an organizational mission
  • How to make your mission work for you
  • How to define a mission statement

About the Author

Sonia Thompson is the founder and Chief Change Agent at TRY Business. Stay in touch with Sonia on Twitter and Google+.
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