What a Trampoline Mishap Taught Me About Business
This summer we purchased a trampoline, and boy has it been a hit. Many hours of fun and exertion for our two sons that would be otherwise chalked up as “boredom”. Even I got in on the game of super jumps, flips, and the like. It’s been fun.
However, there were some things about trampoline ownership I didn’t realize when I left the local sporting goods store with my new purchase.
It came to a head in one particular (windy) event. Thanks to Instagram, my wife even captured it on video.
She warned, “I’m concerned about the wind, what’s to stop the trampoline from leaving the yard?”
“Yes” I muttered, totally distracted writing an email on my smart phone, and peeking at the trampoline out the back door window.
Then it happened.
“The tramp!” I yelled, “it’s leaving the yard!” as I ran out the door.
Life has a way of teaching me what I call ‘hybrid’ lessons if I’m only listening…you know, those practical lessons that also serve as a lesson for the bigger things in life. Here’s what I found with this episode.
Expect the Unexpected
When doing something new, like purchasing a trampoline to jump on, there will be things that you hadn’t considered at time of purchase. In this case, I hadn’t considered the w-i-n-d!
In business, whenever stepping out to do something new, there will be unexpected things that happen. Recently, I was speaking at a venue for the first time, there were technical difficulties. In fact a screen was flashing as I tried to illustrate my point with a slide deck. I ended up ‘punting’ and delivering the presentation without the visual I had prepared. Unexpected things will happen, expect them. When they do, roll with them. Give people a reason to laugh, it sets you (and them) at ease.
For me, as you may have noticed in the video, the only precaution I had was myself and two boys to help me right the trampoline. If the tree wasn’t there, it may have been lost forever. YET, I won’t get burned again, this lesson helped me understand that I need a trampoline anchor kit which I did purchase.
In business, aiming for success doesn’t mean success happens all the time, and often not on the first attempt. It’s important to build in margin for new initiatives. An all-or-nothing approach sounds bold and even exciting, but it is one of the fastest ways to be put out of business. Be bold, but do so wisely, take precautions if even your conservative hopes fall short.
Make Sure It’s Anchored When the Wind Kicks Up
So I purchased the trampoline anchor kit (arrived last night). Nothing worse than having it sit on the shelf only to have the wind come by and take the tramp for another ride. This evening I’m going to INSTALL it. This is born out of other life lessons where I’ve purchased something but didn’t apply it in time to avoid a mess.
Knowing what to do as a business precaution isn’t as helpful as actually doing it. If you don’t have a backup of your critical files on your PC, do it now! If you are putting off getting your business on a legitimate accounting system, commit to a time-frame to get it done.
Recognize Failure as a Test Result
When it comes to failing, it does not make one a failure. It does not define you. Listen, failure would be for me not to learn from what the wind episode was educating me about. If no corrective or preventive action is taken, then failure is assured, but purchasing the remedy and implementing it means a lesson’s been had.
In business a shortfall is a data point, a lesson, something to learn from. Failure is the tuition paid for future success. (tweet that!) Resisting it is resisting progress. Embrace it as a lesson and grow.
Have a trampoline? Have a business? Chime in with your thoughts and own story in the comment boxes below. Think this useful to someone else, please share using the social buttons on this page.