“Your attitude is the aroma of your heart. If your attitude stinks, that means your heart’s not right.” – Coach Grant Taylor
Sure, we have all seen more than our share of inspirational movies – it’s amazing how much meaning you can find in the world when you’re being receptive and can relate certain themes to what’s going on in your own life.
Facing The Giants is a 2006 film about a high school football team that touts the belief that “With God, nothing is impossible.”
I am no expert in theology or football but I have gone through the process of starting my own company; so I can definitely say that in this story we I a lot of common fears and negative beliefs that have killed many an entrepreneurial dream.
I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of these nuggets of wisdom regarding some attitudes that could spell disaster for your business start-up.
1. Getting used to apathy
“I don’t know what that smell is. I’ve scrubbed everything I can.” – Brooke Taylor
Coach Taylor had a lot of things in his life that were going south. The football team he was coaching was the worst in the league, his car was constantly breaking down, his house stank to high heavens and he and his wife were having trouble conceiving.
Further along in the story they find out that the reason why the house was emitting such a foul odor was because there was a dead rat inside their walls. Now we know that Brooke Taylor probably had a lot on her mind, but really… how difficult can it be to follow your nose to get to the bottom of the problem?
Now, how many times have you said to yourself “something is not right” with regard to your business? How many times have you brushed that nagging feeling aside, too caught up with everything else that is happening in your life? How many easy-to-solve problems have you shoved to the back of your mind because it’s easier to focus on something else?
When something is amiss in your personal life or career – don’t let it get to the point that you’re willing to let things slide and live with the stink. Making compromises and not fixing the actual problem can lead to you dropping the ball on even bigger issues in the future.
2. Settling for mediocrity
“We’re number six baby! We’re number six!” –Brady Owens
When Coach Taylor asked Brock Kelley to do the death crawl again while blindfolded – Brock told him “I can get to fifty if no one’s on my back.”
How many times have you tried to set your own limits before even starting a task? When did doing your best start to mean doing things until you get to a certain point?
As a business owner, you need to get it in your head that giving your best and giving your all is the exact same thing. You can’t let yourself get sucked into the mindset that whatever you’re doing is good enough. Successful entrepreneurs challenge themselves and the people around them every single day.
The minute that your business stops growing and starts coasting is the very same minute that your business takes its last breath. Don’t be content with being just good enough. Be great.
Mediocrity often springs from the belief that human beings have limits – and we do. We don’t have wings; we can’t fly. We don’t have gills; we can’t stay underwater for more than a few minutes.
What we can do is to work around those limits and find ways to get past them. As Vidal Sassoon said, “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
3. Losing the game in your head – being self-defeating
“I’m too small [for this].” –David Childers
David Childers was new to Shiloh and new to the game of football. Even though he had previously proven to be a good soccer player – he let the thought that he was not built for American football cloud his mind. He constantly questioned his contribution to the team, not seeing that they would not have let him on if they did not see potential in him.
A self-defeatist attitude is a sure business-killer. Most people can’t even see past the potential landmines to the potential pay-offs ahead of them. David’s main problem was that he was focusing on all the wrong things – his physical limitations, his fear of being unable to conquer a new game, his fear of not measuring up.
As his father advised him, “your actions will always follow your beliefs.” What entrepreneurs need to learn how to do is to see the bigger picture and their role in helping their business get to the end goal.
Also, just because your company is small today – does not mean that it won’t mushroom into something bigger in the future. It’s all about forging ahead and making all the mistakes that you can today and learning from them while your business is new. That way, if you run into something similar in the future, you’ll know how to deal with it.
One great quote from Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, goes, “If you think you’re too small to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.”
4. Losing your backbone to the fear of failure
"At the end of the game, I'm kind of glad I didn't play. That way I can't mess up." –David Childers
If you’re not in the game then you can’t succeed, either.
How many great ideas out there died a natural death because the person having the idea was too afraid of taking that next step and possibly failing? You fail at 100% of the things you do not try at – this is a fact.
If you’re sitting on a great idea that could change your life and others, a great quote from Robert H. Schuller goes, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”
Doesn’t that just open a whole can of possibilities? I mean, who says that you need to strike gold on your first panning trip? Success is about making your past and future failures work for you and not the other way around.
“Starting a business is a lot like jumping out of an airplane and assembling the parachute on the way down. –Unknown”
You have got to realize that just having a great idea and starting a business doesn’t mean that you’re going to strike it rich in the first few months. It takes hard work and perseverance… and a lot of jumping out of planes and not necessarily nailing the landing.
5. Failing to acknowledge a losing strategy is arrogance
Matt Prater had the typical relationship with his father that most teenagers have with their parents – acrimonious. However instead of trying to mend their relationship, he chose to stay angry and resentful. Holding onto that much anger toward his father and refusing to be the bigger person made him arrogant and self-righteous. His anger clouded his judgment and made sure that he couldn’t see any way out of the emotional prison he and his father existed in.
During the state championships, the head coach for the Giants was sure that the game was going to be a shut-out. When things didn’t go his way, however, he chose to dig in his sports shoes and insist that his team would win without the help of field goals. Voluntarily closing that door sealed his team’s fate.
Not acknowledging that your business is losing ground can spell danger and eventual defeat. The Shiloh Eagles, however, acknowledged their limits in that particular game and found a way to work it to their advantage.
Entrepreneurs need to be able to discern the good ideas from the bad ones. Cultivating this talent means less time spent on wasteful tasks and more time pursuing what’s good for your business. Digging your heels in and being stubborn are good traits to have – but you have to know when to throw in the towel and find another way to achieve your goal.
Choosing to go another way for the betterment of your business isn’t failure. Remember what Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
We know that entrepreneurship can be a scary prospect. It’s difficult to imagine working a regular nine-to-five and then going into something that requires your attention 24/7. Most entrepreneurs start out with a hundred great ideas and only succeed with one – the trick is to find that one great idea that’s worth your time and capital and then working at making a successful business out of it.