I’ve been writing quite a bit of in depth advice recently. I’ve talked about EOS® Core Values, using the V/TO™, and even gotten my hands dirty with advice on EOS Roll Out. Time to take a breather. This week I want to talk about a bit of perspective that may save some of you. Running a business is a marathon not a sprint, and that applies doubly for implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System®.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably tired. You’re looking around you and seeing everything through the haze of sweat dripping off your brow. Sure, everyone told you running a business is a marathon, but it’s different when you’re living it. And running a business on EOS takes a level of time and effort that can take its toll.
Powering through the struggle can be a difficult thing to do. As can keeping the perspective on how all this hard work pays off. But you wouldn’t have signed up for it, if you weren’t dedicated to seeing this change through.
So, today I’d like to offer a little oasis from all the hard work. Take this article as a letter of encouragement, a reminder that what you are doing is objectively difficult, but worth it.
Rule 1: Sometimes It Sucks
We may as well start with the part that’s hardest to hear. Sometimes running a business – much like a marathon – sucks. Trust me. I know.
There are times in both where you are going to think to yourself that it just isn’t worth it. Most things in life that are worth having come with downsides. But when it comes to running your business on the Entrepreneurial Operating System, you’ve got plenty of struggle ahead of you. You’ll encounter everything from long-term employees that resist the change to difficult conversations that have been simmering under the radar for years.
The truth is sometimes it will just plain suck. But that isn’t the only truth.
Those hard times make the goal seem like it’s a millions miles away. But that’s because your brain is telling you that every step of the journey is going to be that hard. And I’m here to tell you that isn’t true. Sure, there will be hard times. But there will also be good times, 30% growth in a single year times. That’s the journey. You struggle up a hill so you can enjoy the view.
So, the next time you’re getting rained on, remember this. Keep picking up those soaking wet feet and taking more steps because…
Rule 2: One Step At A Time
…the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
In case you’re counting, that’s the second Lao Tzu reference in July! That’s something to be proud of.
Anyway, there’s real wisdom in applying this Taoist principle to every day operations of your business. When you look at the EOS 10-Year Target™, it will seem like it’s a thousand miles away. And seeing a goal that far away can be discouraging. Often, it will look like you’re not making any real progress, like no matter how many steps you take it just doesn’t get closer.
Trust the process, my friends. Trust the process.
Every time you sit down to a Level 10 Meeting™, you’re taking a step. And steps get you places. As long as you are keeping your eye on the V/TO and making sure you’re still walking in the right direction, you’ll cross that finish line eventually.
Take it from someone who REALLY thought they weren’t going to finish their last marathon.
Rule 3: There Are No Shortcuts
O.K. so technically there are shortcuts in a marathon, but using them gets you disqualified. You can’t just take a bus to the finish line and call it a day.
The point is that running your business doesn’t allow for shortcuts and cheats. There’s no such things as a quick fix way to get your business to the level you are working towards. There’s a reason it’s a 10-Year Target. It takes 10 years to get there. It can be really tempting to see the so called overnight success stories of startups. But even those newer startups have worked hard for every inch of ground they gained.
You’re probably wondering how this is supposed to be uplifting. Well, ask yourself this: If there are no shortcuts, what’s wrong with the long way? The competition is on the same path as you, and they won’t find any shortcuts either.
So, when you find yourself looking at what seems like a shortcut, look at it under the microscope. Does this shortcut really get you where you want to go? If it does, what are the consequences? You don’t want to be the guy disqualified for riding the bus half way.
Rule 4: You Wouldn’t Be Tired If You Hadn’t Worked Hard
No matter where you are on the EOS journey, you’re probably feeling the burn. You’ve been working hard doing things that you never thought your team would do. You’ve already taken on everything from long-term strategic planning to having some very difficult conversations.
These struggles aren’t something to look at as a cost. They are the reward and the evidence of progress.
When you’re running a marathon, you don’t get tired because you’re taking it easy. You get tired, because you’re busting your butt. You’re running as hard as you’ve ever run in your life. And as a result you’re moving faster than you’ve ever moved.
Your business is going through the same thing. The team is worn out from all that they’ve accomplished in the time you’ve been using the Entrepreneurial Operating System, but look at how far you’ve come. If you had been running at the same speed you used to, how far would you be?
The point is that you deserve a bit of congratulations. Take a second and rest your sore legs. Look around at your business and give yourself a moment to appreciate all you’ve done so far.
Meet the Founder
Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011. Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.