Colombia vs Japan, and it’s the first World Cup match for both teams. The long wait is over. The practice, the strategy, the buildup…it’s all in the past now. Now it’s time to play.
One minute of gameplay, then two, then three. And then—
A handball. The ref calls it intentional. It’s in the box. That means a penalty shot. That means a red card for the player—his time in the game is over. His team, Columbia, must now play with only ten men for the remaining 87 minutes of the game. Then Japan scores.
Talk about a horrible start for Columbia.
We all have days like this. You show up for a big day at work, your mind on everything you plan to do, and then your best client calls and drops you. Even if it’s not your fault (say the client is just shifting to a new business plan) you’re going to question yourself. Everything else in your day just got harder, both because of the logistical challenge of being down a client, and because you feel terrible.
Columbia faced that kind of bad day.
They must have felt like quitting, or maybe just phoning it in until the game ended. But they didn’t. They hung in there, fought hard, and scored! Tie game, 1-1.
They were doubted, but they didn’t care. They were patient. They strategized. They made it a game.
You can do that too.
So your client is gone. Are there other clients? Are there more prospects? Of course there are. There is plenty to do, so you pull yourself together, get on with your day, and make the best of what you’ve got. And you succeed.
If you haven’t been following the World Cup, you might think this is where I tell you that Columbia went on to win that game, a perfect metaphor for some hypothetical situation where an even a bigger former client calls and asks to renew their contract making your day a huge success after all.
But that’s not what happened. Japan won the game.
Was Columbia’s fight worth it?
Yes, of course it was. Because here in the real world, neither success nor failure is permanent, and there is a lot you can’t control. What you can control (mostly) is how you respond to the ups and downs of circumstance. You can’t be guaranteed a win, no matter what you do, but you can play like you’re in the World Cup.
Thanks for reading, “World Cup Lesson #3: Bad Start”. For the previous articles in this series:
World Cup Lesson #1: Patience
World Cup Lesson #2 Think