This morning I was watching my son’s hockey game. He is in Novice so the kids are between 7 and 9. While I was sitting there admiring how talented and dedicated these youngsters were, it got me to thinking. Being an entrepreneur is a lot like playing a game of hockey. It is all about showing up, trying you’re hardest, working as a team and most of all believing in yourself.
During the game there were some really amazing goals, passes, saves and surprise moves but two in particular really caught my attention.
The first boy was an extremely skilled player; you could tell he had all the moves. He was just as fast as the other players; his stick handling was as strong if not stronger than the other players and he seemed to know where he needed to be before it happened. So what I saw next caught my attention. He was lined up in front of the net, his team member passed him the puck, it was a clear shot, the goalie would have never caught it, all he had to do was take aim and hit it in… but what happened was while the puck was in motion you could see the boy’s body language change. The self-doubt monster popped up and showed its mean face and in that split second the boy hesitated, so when he took the shot, he missed the net by about a foot, the goalie jumped on it and it was a no goal.
Later in the game, another boy caught my attention. This boy was a bit more awkward, his skating skills are not at the level of the other players yet, his stick handling was a bit less skilled but he was a team player and always right in the middle of the action. He is known to be involved in some high energy passing and never thinks twice to hand off the puck if he is unable to make the shot. Today, this boy was back by the blue line, his team member passed him the puck, he was ahead of the action and rather than passing it or skating it toward the net, he lined it up and slapped it. In reality no one expected it to go in, but guess what? The goalie didn’t expect it either and it was ALL NET! It was a beautiful goal. The parents jumped and cheered and were happily amazed at the great goal.
So what did these kids do different and how does it have anything to do with business?
Boy number 1 represents the self-doubting entrepreneur. You know who you are. You have an amazing business but you are unsure of your ability. You will often hold back from pursuing great opportunities because you are “JUST NOT READY” In other words your website isn’t perfect, your packaging isn’t spot on, you haven’t completed your sales material yet. So rather than jumping in and trying you wait for the day that everything is PERFECT. But the truth is the second you take to wait for “Perfect” is often too long, and you have missed your shot. This is when the competition jumps in and asks for the sale, and your opportunity is lost to someone able and willing or you just start to lose interest in the game and give up before you even begin.
Boy number 2 represents the risk taker. The risk taker knows that you miss 100% of all shots that you don’t take. They are the type that when offered a great but challenging opportunity say “yes Thank you, I can do that” and then decide how they will do it. They are the ones that know everything can be figured out. They know that the risk is worth the reward. They make their own destiny. They know that failure is not the worst thing in the world. For example, if boy number 2 had missed the goal what is the worst thing that would have happened? He would have skated to the puck and tried again? That’s not too bad is it? So in business what is the worst thing that can happen?
Sometimes believing in yourself is all you need to succeed. The first boy may have got the goal if he had enough confidence to shove it in and the second boy who never thought he would land that goal did because he believed he could and took a chance.
My advice for all of you is to learn from these young athletes and take a leap of faith. Believe that what you want is obtainable. There are enough doubters in the world; we need believers, dreamers and jumpers. So next time you have a target in mind, line it up and take a strong, confident hit and maybe you will be lucky enough to catch all net!