How a simple walk to the park reignited my fire to create the best possible company I can.
I recently took the snaggle toothed cutie to the park. Fortunately, our neighborhood has 2 parks within a few blocks. So we can always have different adventures. Lately it seems that the pup enjoys the park by the community center. I don't really blame him. The other park is where the bully dogs are. It must be their turf.
Usually our trips to the park are pretty uneventful. Maybe we get to chase an occasional squirrel or see a mole pop its head out of the ground. To say that I never expected to have any kind of inspiration there, would be an understatement.
Now the community center is pretty great. There are baseball fields, tennis courts, a playground, and indoor and outdoor basketball courts. The outdoor basketball court is ground zero for this tale. The courts get a fair amount of use. Usually, it's fathers teaching their kids or a 3 on 3 pick up game. But during this visit, it was just one kid. He was clearly high school age but he was tall. And I mean real tall. And like most guys that age and that tall, he was awkward. He was running up and down the court and it really felt like he was not very good. Then he took the shot. And it was smooth as silk. He had fantastic form and he was hitting them from every where. After every shot, he lumbered to the other end of the court with the ball against his hip and wrist. And he would do the awkward dribbling, almost losing the ball each time, ending with that buttery, buttery shot.
As I'm watching him it all seemed so weird. The first part, with the dribbling, started off so terrible. And the four sneakers, strewn about the court seemed be impeding his ablility to dribble. Then it occured to me. He was running drills. The sneakers laying about were like his cones. He was making those awkward cuts right were the shoes were. He was a big guy. Big guys aren't known for their dribbling skills. And with his shooting ability, he may not need to know how to dribble the length of the court. But there he is. Running the same path over and over and over. Awkward every single time. But he's out there. Working on his skills. Being a more valuable team member. Increasing his own worth.
Then it really hit me when I think that we are in Southern California, two and a half miles from the beach. This kid could really be out having the time of his life. But his desire is strong to be better. Blocking it all out. Making himself better. Learning more about what he is made of.
Then a bit of shame came over me.
When was the last time I improved myself, or my business, for my clients? When was the last time I read a trade article? When was the last time I sat in on a webinar. Hell, when was the last time I even wrote a blog post?
The answer to those questions is a very long time. I was just going through the motions. Doing only what needed to be done. Never reaching farther than the next payment. And that is never what Mutant Capitalist was meant to be about. Our strength has always lied in a diverse set of offerings. Being able to operate on multiple platforms and introduce clients to emerging messaging platforms is our wheel house. And I allowed us to slip. I took for granted that I knew what I was doing. I rested on my own reputation and nearly destroyed it in the process.
As with the kid running drills, I have started to do the same. Although my skills don't require balls, well at least not the kind of balls the kid was using, I needed to start running drills. I spent an hour every single day reading up on, not just my industries, but other industries that I think I would expand into in the future. Also, every week, I watch at least 1 how-to video or attend a webinar aimed at upping my skills.
What I found, after only about a week or so was that "the idea machine" turned back on. I started seeing opportunities. These opportunities were not just for my brand. More importantly, these ideas could really be leveraged by my clients. As a matter of fact, one of my clients has already implemented one of the ideas that came to me through my efforts of improving.
The take away is this, you have to be in a constant state of improvement. Like the high schooler, out there running drills on his own. Nobody is hovering over him, telling him to be better. You need to do the same. Run your own "drills". Ask yourself "how can I be better for my customers?". Carve out time, EVERY SINGLE DAY to improved your skills.
A thought to leave you with: “one extra hour of study per day and you 'll be a national expert in five years or less ” ― Earl Nightingale
Posted By: Rob Walker Chief Mutant Officer Mutant Capitalist