Itâ€™s unusual for me to use a football metaphor (thatâ€™s American Football I should say as I write this during the World Cup Final) as the theme of one of my essays. My little stories are typically tied to unique business moments from my past or family stories from my past. This theme is one that I refer to often and actually did with a dear friend last week.
I was back and forth via email with a good friend that I have known now for more than ten years. He and I were working to coordinate travel calendars, and I checked in on his travel plans in the midst of a hectic day. While busy as usual on my end, I had no idea of the challenges that my friend was handling that day. He was working through a very challenging business deal, handling the multitude of family priorities, and had just found out that his newly purchased truck was not what he had expected (previously existing title, engine not matching the truckâ€™s serial number, etc.) As I caught up to him that evening he was feeling the challenges of the week mounting and I quickly encouraged him to â€œstay on your feet, donâ€™t stop, and keep your feet moving through the hole.â€
For those unfamiliar with this image from football, the idea comes from advice for a running back as he hits the line. While there may be an intended â€holeâ€ in the line of the designed running play, itâ€™s typical that the running back, after the handoff, hits a lot of linemen (defense and offense alike) and it seems that the â€œholeâ€ has collapsed to nothing. If the running back slows down or stops at that point, he is dead in his tracks and is almost always immediately tackled. If he keeps his feet moving, driving forward, you never know what might happen. Little breaks may open up, intended or even unintended, holes may open up. From a seemingly dead stop, a big gain mya be achieved if and only if the running back â€œkeeps his feet moving.â€
This idea is directly transferrable to the business landscape! It is very typical to hit an obstacle or an unexpected challenge that seems to stop us in our tracks. Rather than slowing down or letting the challenge of the moment stop your efforts, keep working, keep iterating, keep executing, keep trying and you never know what opportunities â€œmightâ€ still arise. By â€œkeeping your feet moving through the hole,â€ you give yourself the chance to have good things happen. Nothing â€œgoodâ€ will happen if you stop trying!
This idea, while it is deeply true professionally, is equally true in your personal life. We all have faced, and will face, unexpected challenges in our lives. Whether the loss of a loved one, an unexpected setback in your family, or some other challenge/issue (inclusive of a truckâ€™s serial number not matching the chassis,) we will all face challenges and setbacks in our lives. When those moments come, as they will, donâ€™t let them stop you completely. Keep living, keep trying, keep working to try to make tomorrow a little better than yesterday; if you can remember to â€œkeep your feet moving through the hole,â€ you give yourself the best chance to make something good or great out of a tough situation.