As I watched parts of the 2018 Olympic Games I was struck by the similarity in the journeys of Olympic athletes and small business owners. It all starts with a dream…
In the pursuit of a dream, both the Olympic athlete and the small business owner set their sights on a goal. In pursuit of the goal everything in their life revolves around working toward the goal. Olympic athletes aspire to win the gold medal and small business owners aspire toward profitability, stabilization and growth. They eat, sleep and breathe the goal…often giving the best of themselves to the pursuit of the goal. Focused on the goal and doing anything to achieve it, both an Olympic athlete and a small business owner are up before dawn and in bed long after sunset, putting their heart and soul into achieving the goal.
As important as training and working hard is, equally important is having the right people around them to coach, support and encourage them along the journey. The journey is certain to be more of a roller coaster than a smooth straight line. Along the journey, they live out a roller coaster of victories and failures leaving blood, sweat and tears along the way. It is rarely an individual journey but a family journey with sacrifices made by all in the pursuit of a dream. Through the ups and downs, the fire in the soul never goes out and the dream never dies. They keep marching forward. Money often gets tight in every sense of the word and they might even go into debt to finance the journey. Relationships either flourish or start to show cracks from the stress. They experience “the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat” as Jim McKay would say, many times over along the journey. It is how they rise that counts. Hard times make one stronger, fanning the fire in the soul to fight harder to come back better than ever. In famine one learns the lesson about what is truly important when money gets tight and it may feel like trying to tie two broken shoe strings together to hold a family or business together. Hard times also cultivate humility and respect, both essential ingredients to success. Many find it conflicting to stand beside someone that cannot celebrate another’s success like Canada’s Jocelyne Larocque who removed her silver medal from around her neck during the Women’s Hockey medal presentation during which the United States team was presented with the gold.
Over the course of time Olympic athletes and business owners must survey their environment and continue to grow and change with the times or be left behind. As an example, the figure skating talent in Russia is so deep (young) and talented, according to past Olympians Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, that two Russian skaters Evgenia Medvedeva (2018 Silver Medalist), 18, and Alina Zagitova (2018 Gold Medalist), 15, may not even be considered competitive for the 2022 Olympic team. The younger skaters who will be eligible to compete in 2022 are performing jumps and tricks that will set them far apart from Medvedeva and Zagitova by the time 2022 arrives. A short amount of time can find a business lagging behind its competitors and fighting an uphill battle to come back.
An Olympic athlete or successful small business owner that has not endured the roller coaster of victories and failures along the journey has not truly achieved their goal in my opinion. For it is the hard times and failures that show or build our true character and reveal what is deep within. If they never know the agony of defeat, they can never truly savor the sweetness of victory or share it with those around them. After a journey that takes up a significant part of a lifetime, savoring the victory and sharing it with those around them is the icing on the cake for an Olympic athlete and a small business owner.
If you are a small business owner needing a solid financial team around you as you become established and emerge, Libby King & Associates is ready to partner with you! We can lighten your load so you can focus on what you do best. We specialize in accounting system design and optimization, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, job costing, cash flow management and time and expense systems. We also offer project-based services and CFO consulting services. You can learn more about Libby King & Associates at www.kingcpafirm.com or you can stop by and visit us in booth 842 at the upcoming SXSW Exhibitions and Events area March 11th through March 14th.