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Why You Sometimes Need Get Worse To Get A Lot Better

Copyright (c) 2007-2021

I am not a golfer and what I know about golfing is limited to what I pick up from the sports pages and the sports segment on the nightly news.

And yet, by pure chance, I caught Ed Bradley's interview with Tiger Woods on 60-Minutes which aired about a year ago and some of the things they discussed made a big impression on me in the way I think about my business and marketing.

One of the main topics of discussion in the interview was Woods' reason for intentionally changing his swing twice in the ten years he's been competing as a professional golfer. Each time he changed his swing, in 1997 and in 2004, his game suffered to the point that there was speculation his career was finished. And it wasn't just a tournament or two when he did badly. It was the entire season.

So why would someone, like Tiger Woods, who could easily have kept doing what he was doing and remained one of the world's greatest athletes, purposely mess with his "golden" swing?

For Tiger Woods, the reason was very simple, he knew he could do better and changing his swing enabled him to. And even someone who is as clueless about professional golf as I am knows that the change has more than paid off. That, after a period of adjustment, Woods became that much better.

As a small business owner, there was an important lesson I took away: that in order to take my business to the next level, I was going to have change some of the things I was doing. And that although making the change might feel uncomfortable; that I might lose some clients and even see my income dip, the change would enable me to take on better projects and make far more money than I could had I not gone through the transition.

What kind of changes am I talking about? They typically fall into one of these categories:

Investing Time and Money

How much time and money would you be willing to invest in order to take your business to the next level? $100? $1,000? $10,000? How may hours each week are currently dedicated to activities that will expand your business? 1 hour? 2 hours or more?

Sometimes the hardest thing I do is to spend time working on things that won't get me cold hard cash in the short term. It's really hard when I'm also spending money that I really "don't have" for these long term projects. But I've also seen investments I made a year ago; even two-years ago more than pay off so I know I'm doing the right thing even if it is sometimes rather painful.

Disappointing Other People

When. in 2004, Tiger Woods game suffered because of changes he was making in his swing, there was a lot of criticism and speculation about his judgment, professionalism, and character. His former instructor even accused him of "being in denial." It couldn't have been easy for Woods but he continued to work on and refine his new swing.

Frankly, for me, disappointing people whose approval I want is even tougher than investing time and money into long-term pay-off activities. My reluctance to disappoint family, friends, peers, and clients has caused me to hold off on making decisions and taking actions that I know are what I need to get the results I want.

A former coach gave me a great piece of advice that I always remember in these situations: Every time you say no to an opportunity or request that's not right for you; you say "yes" to yourself. This is not about saying "no" for its own sake but saying no because it's not the right thing for you.

Feeling Uncomfortable and Awkward

When I was about ten years old, I took diving lessons at the local pool. I'll never forget my first dive off the high dive. The water seemed to be 100 miles away and I had a huge knot in my stomach. The instructor helped me get into position and I jumped. The dive was sloppy but at least I want in head first instead of doing a belly flop. I kept practicing and, eventually, my body "learned" what to do without me having to think about it. By the end of the summer the diving from the high dive was my favorite thing to do at the pool.

That learning a new swing involved discomfort and awkwardness was apparent in Tiger Wood's performance in the months following his decision. But at some point, Woods mastered the new swing and that has showed up in his performance as well.

Bottom Line

Significant growth in your business (really in any human endeavor) is proceeded by periods of unease, risk, and discomfort. It is rare that growth and advancement is a steady, linear upward progression.

The growth of most businesses looks more like an "S" curve with a slow start, a steep rise as your early investment pays off and then a leveling off as the resources and actions that took the business to that first level are no longer as effective. Unless your business, any business, invests in new resources and activities to take it to the next level, you risk stagnation, even failure.

To take your business to the next level you don't need Tiger Wood's determination, tenacity, and desire to win. You just need to be willing to do what is right to grow your business even if that requires you to live outside your comfort zone from time to time.


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Judy Murdoch helps small business owners create low-cost, effective marketing campaigns using word-of-mouth referrals, guerrilla marketing activities, and selected strategic alliances. To download a free copy of the workbook, "Where Does it Hurt? Marketing Solutions to the problems that Drive Your Customers Crazy!" go to http://www.judymurdoch.com/workbook.htm
You can contact Judy at 303-475-2015 or judy@judymurdoch.com

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Last Distribution Date:
2007-06-29 13:33:00

Internal ID: #5034





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