It’s opening day in baseball. The grass is freshly cut, the smell of hot dogs is in the air, and everyone in the stands is excited about their team’s chances this season. But the playoffs are a long way away—the season is 162 games! If you exhaust yourself early, you’ll never make it, but if you save your energy by slacking off, you won’t make it either. Somehow, you’ve got to give each game your all, while still keeping your eye on the big picture.
The same principle applies in the business world. Whether you’re starting your own business or starting your career as an employee (or even starting a new year), you have to remember it’s a long season. Don’t get discouraged by early losses. Don’t let yourself get burnt out. And don’t take your eye off the ball.
Say you have an idea for your business, something you expect to be the next big thing. You try it out, and it falls flat. So? You can’t get a hit if you don’t swing, and everyone who swings misses sometimes. Maybe you have to strike out 50 times before you get a hit. That’s ok, it’s a long season. The important thing is to keep swinging.
Consider the 2005 Houston Astros. On June 1, the Astros were 19-32 and in last place in the NL Central. Just 51 games into the season, everybody was ready to call it a lost season and focus on next year. The Houston Chronicle even ran an article on the front page with a picture of a tombstone saying, “RIP, Astro’s Season: April 5, 2005- June 1, 2005.” Everybody had given up on the team—except the players and coaches. They knew that the season still had 111 games left. They knew that if they put in countless hours, effort, and heart, they would be successful. The Astros won the wild card, and made it to the World Series. So much for a team that was “dead.” The 2005 Houston Astros are a prime example of how you can take your business from down in the dirt to successful champions if you are willing to do the work.
Focus on the long run, no matter what anyone says. Maybe your business isn’t doing as well as you hoped out the gate. Maybe you thought you’d be further in your career by now. So? Just remember, it’s a long season. Show up every day, play your best, and you’ll get there.