Monday, January 10, 2022

Bringing the Ironman Focus to the Business World. 

Been thinking… again.  Shocker, I know. I have been asked a few times recently if I was going to race another Ironman.  My last one was in 2019 and I gutted out my slowest performance over the six that I have completed.  I have always prided myself in getting across the line before the lights came on and they start handing out glow sticks.  I have managed to do that but in 2019 I went into the race knowing I would at some point be walking on the run due to a nagging foot injury.  I was also carrying an extra 20 pounds for this one and it showed in my finish time.  Oh well, I got it done but it didn’t leave a great taste in my mouth for signing up again.  Ironman is ALWAYS painful but the more prepared you are the less it hurts.  

Lately it seems my focus has shifted to a higher level of attention on Gross Profit, Net Profit and building my business.  In getting back to business I was able to put together a fantastic 2021 and we are well positioned to kick some serious a$$ in 2022.  2021 was tough though.  We had some tough projects, challenges with material pricing and availability as well as some struggles with sub contractors.  I found myself extremely stressed at times, like I was on a hamster wheel and I just couldn’t get off of it.  I wanted to build the business, create something sustainable, but I knew we needed to walk before we took off at a full sprint.  At times it was flat out chaos. By year end we got our arms around things and had learned some lessons. However, there is much to be done in 2022 before I can say we have a finely tuned machine, positioned for growth and ready to be scaled.  

Some of you may know that my daughter moved to Texas last year.  She’s out there doing well and making her mark so that has this proud Dad on a plane a few more times per year than I am used to.  As a result I have had a lot of time to think and reflect.  On this last trip I spent a lot of time thinking about the business and also whether I would train for another Ironman.  In that thought process I realized something.  What if I could take the same approach to my business as I have to Ironman? As a business owner I am often too lenient, too forgiving, not charging enough and overdelivering.  Now, some of those things certainly will keep you “top of mind” with your customers but it doesn’t do a heck of a lot for your bottom line.  Sometimes we take too long to complete jobs because we are doing a little extra (for free) and not getting to the next project on schedule.  We (I) sometimes interpret daily challenges as stress, and it is cumulative, adding up over the course of the week or months or the entire year.  So if my WORK was an Ironman how would I be handling things differently?  As an Ironman competitor I am sizing you up from the minute I see you at 5AM.  I train for a year, sparing no expense on a good coach and training plan.  I am up early, training and preparing.  On race day I am all business, picking people off all day long, rolling through an internal dialogue not fit for print.  I race ANGRY at times, I am laser focussed.  I look at adversity on race day as a challenge to be dealt with.  I WELCOME it. If the weather sucks I love it even more.  I tear through the  course BELIEVING I am the baddest MF’er out there, that NO ONE is tougher than me and if you are going to beat me you are going to earn it. I am no one you want to tangle with late in the race because I am NOT going away.  I once DOVE over the finish line in a Half-Iron race just to beat a guy that wasn’t even in my age group.  I go hard.

So how do I bottle that shit up and open it up over here in the business world?  I think if I figure THAT out it’s GAME OVER.  I am going to start by making sure I am getting uncomfortable, taking care of the shitty stuff.  My Mom always says “Do the worst FIRST” and I believe she’s right.  I will knock down the most challenging stuff first and then attack the rest of it the way I do a 140.6 mile race.  I’ve also asked for help.  I am working with a business coach and we are going to make some huge strides in 2022.  Funny, over the years I have had all kinds of coaches.  High School sports, triathlon coaches, nutrition coaches, Personal Trainers, Guitar teacher, you name it.  But never ONCE did it occur to me to hire a business coach.  Someone that can take a 30,000 foot view of what I am trying to accomplish and work with me to implement strategies and tactics to get me where I want to go.  I am excited about this and I can’t wait to see where things go.  I have done a lot of good things over the years but I have made a lot of mistakes too.  It’s time to bring it all together.  

As for the question of whether I will race another Ironman, well, I can say that I am going to go all Ironman on my business first and see where that takes me.  I am enjoying some weightlifting and a variety of other activities like hiking, fat biking and working to find a better sense of balance than Ironman training affords.  I may try some ultra running. If I feel the pull back to the Ironman race course you can bet it’ll be with a full vengeance and I’ll be looking to put my foot on someone’s throat. (figuratively of course) :) 

Stay tuned, it’s going to be a great year! 

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