and How You Can Apply it to Your Business
For three years now, the St. Louis Blues have lost in the first round of the playoffs. History seemed about to repeat itself this year as their first round opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks fought back hard after being down three games to one, to tie it up three to three and force a pivotal game seven. St. Louis pulled it together and won game seven three to two.
It’s a great story, but what can it teach us?
1. Use Your Motivation
For six years, St. Louis lost in the playoffs or didn’t make the playoffs at all. In that same time period, their rival, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup three times. The last time the two teams met in the playoffs, the Blackhawks won. Losing to them again this year would have had to burn. I’m not encouraging jealousy per se, but the competitive impulse when you see others do well can drive you to do amazing things. Use it.
2. Keep Trying
While St. Louis lost in four consecutive playoffs, the other way to look at it is they made the playoffs four, now five consecutive seasons. They’ve consistently had great success in the regular season. The Blues clearly weren’t a bad team, they just hadn’t put it together yet. This year, maybe they have. We’ll see how far they go.
Don’t get discouraged if you find yourself almost making it, time and again. A lot of people never get so close. The reality is you’re already winning, even if you’re not winning as big as you want to. So keep winning. Even if it’s frustrating, keep putting yourself in position to get those big opportunities. It could pay off one day, and in the meantime be grateful for the success you have.
3. Look at Your Team
The Blues organization has built a team with the leadership, skill, depth, and desire to win. So they’ve lost often in the playoffs—they’ve stayed the course and found ways to get better. If the team had been performing badly, the organization would have looked to make some changes, but the Blues have been playing well. Whether they go on to win the Stanley Cup this year or not, they are close.
Winning big can’t be your only measure of success. The big opportunities don’t come around often enough to really tell you much about your company, and even when they do, a deal could fall through for reasons that don’t have anything to do with you. Instead, look to your team. Look to your goals. Look to how well you tackle the little every-day challenges. If your organization is everything it should be, keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll get there, if not this time, then the next time.
Wrapping It Up
So, that’s it: use your losses as motivation; celebrate and be grateful for the wins you do have; look critically at your organization and if you’re doing everything right then keep doing it. Is that a complete theory of business success? No, probably not. But it’s pretty impressive for a team from St. Louis nobody expected to win!