I love great business stories. They teach us so much. From how entrepreneurs come up with their ideas to the ingenuity to make the business go - a great business story can teach us a lot and help us on our entrepreneurial journey. Recently, I came across a Twitter post that went through the story of YETI, the cooler brand, that took a commodity and turned it into a luxury, status symbol.
The post by @chrishlad and goes through the story of how the founders got sick of rigging flimsy coolers to stand on while fishing and decided to change the game. And they did so by not competing in the red ocean of the cheap cooler sellers in the big box stores, but by creating a whole new vertical at the top end of the industry. And they changed the game with the target audience they went after and how they marketed it.
You can read the full story and post here
These are my 3 most important takaways...
What lessons do you take from the YETI story and how can you apply them in your business?
You hear a lot about being "woke" in today's world and society. This post is not about politics or political views, but it is about a societal trend that impacts entrepreneurs. And it offers a great lesson to succeed at higher levels. Let me explain...
I recently heard a group of young people discussing some of the more divisive topics of the day and talking about how older generations "aren't woke enough" to understand. As I heard them speak and go through some of the mental gymnastics it took to avoid the reality of the topics and transform them into their views, I could not help but think one very important question, "Where do your thoughts come from?"
I wondered if these people have ever stopped to think about that question. Do they know where these things they were saying came from? Are they original thoughts that they came up with on their own and decided that they truly believe? Or were they put there by someone or something else and they just blindly followed and regurgitated what they had heard or been told, because it was the socially correct thing to do among their peers?
I suspect it was the latter because much of what they were stating to be true is not in the real world. They just have not had the experience or time to learn it yet. And it will probably be a painful, rude awakening to them when they do.
And there in lies the lesson - for everyone, especially entrepreneurs. Well, actually it is two lessons. The first lesson is simple - reality always wins. It may take some time, but reality will set in at some point.
The second lesson, and more important one, is that we must live from true choice and original thought. In today's age, it is so easy "not to think" and to just state what one hears from the abundance of sources of information now available. Most people do not take the time to ask themselves, "Where do my thoughts come from?" "Did I come up with these things on my own? Do I believe them?" or maybe, most importantly, "What do I truly believe?"
Entrepreneurs - when was the last time you sat down and put pen to paper and asked yourself, what YOU truly believe? What do you believe about yourself? Your business? Your life? What is your worldview?
These are important questions you must answer to gain the clarity of who you are and what is possible for you. It will also give you the ultimate gift, the ability to live from true choice in your life and not be run by the thoughts or programming from others. Do not live your life just going along with the herd or following the lemmings off the cliff. Choose what you think and believe, who you are, and what you want. If you do so, you may decide not to be "woke," but you will certainly be awake.
As entrepreneurs, we have a lot on our plate. We have to balance work, family, relationships, health, personal life, etc. It is not easy to find harmony and there are a lot of "landmines" that can get in the way that can stop us from ever finding it.
One of the biggest landmines is the hardest for us to avoid and that is being consumed by our work and our pursuit of success. Make no mistake, entrepreneurship takes a lot of work and can require long hours, but if entrepreneurs don't keep perspective and keep what is truly important forefront in their lives - then we become consumed by our work.
When people get consumed by their work, in some ways they lose their soul and pay the price. They lose sight of their core values and their lives suffer. Their work may be going great, but they are unhappy, unfulfilled, and ultimately unsuccessful as a whole.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to write down what is important to you and keep it in a place where you can refer to it often and keep it forefront in your life. Each week, you should start the week by reviewing these things and then as you plan your week and go through it, make sure to priortize these areas of importance and give them their due time.
If you do this simple exercise above faithfully each week, you will find that your entire quality of life will be better and you will actually be more successful in your business.
Ironman Alaska was a heck of a race. The water temp was 55 degrees on the swim and it was 50 degrees and raining the whole race! Despite that, I was able to put together one of my best races ever and finished in the Top 25 for age group and one of the top overall. The brutal race at the World Championship in Utah in May prepared me well.
Lessons learned that apply to life and business…
1. Prepare for all contingencies. I packed smart for this race and had everything from regular race day attire to rain and snow and was able to have all the gear I needed ready in my transition so I could change with the climate as the race went on.
2. Your mind is your biggest asset to win in anything. Jumping in 55 degree water, despite a wetsuit, is super cold and my mind was screaming at me to get out, but I just started into my pre-planned stroke rhythm and after a few hundred yards my feet, face, and hand stopped tingling and got acclimated. I overruled my own mind and pushed through it to put in my best swim time ever in a race.
3. Seeing a huge goal through to the very finish is never easy and the last little bit is the hardest and where people quit to most. At mile 22, my entire body was soaked from the rain, my shoes were giant soaking rocks on my feet, and it seemed like it took everything I had to get each step
In front of the other. Those final few miles are where my mind wanted to quit the most, instead I picked up my pace and went even faster. My lungs burned, my body ached, and my mind almost shut down. It was like a zombie run to the finish - but I had my best marathon time in a race ever. Always remember, the last steps toward the goal are where you need to push the hardest and not give in.
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