The Danger of Resting on Your Laurels

A Good Entrepreneur Never Quits!

 
Did you watch the Olympics this summer? If you did, you probably noticed a whole bunch of returning athletes. This happens all the time at the Olympics! When an athlete wins gold, they hardly ever call it quits — instead, they push harder and come back to win again and again.

Just think about Michael Phelps. He started competing in the Olympics in 2000, won his first gold in 2004, then came back again to win more medals in 2008, 2012, AND 2016. He could have rested on his literal Olympic laurels after winning one gold, but he didn’t. Instead, he went on to become the most decorated Olympian of all time.
 

From the Olympics to the Office

When you achieve a “gold medal” in business by closing a big deal, meeting a revenue goal, or achieving some other success, you might be tempted to sit on the money you’ve made and put your feet up. But in my experience, it’s dangerous to rest on your laurels.
 

The Danger of Sitting Still

Why? Well, resting makes you lazy, and laziness makes you complacent. The minute you relax, you’re inviting your company’s growth to stagnate. Plus, when you take your eye off the ball, something always goes wrong. To prevent that, it pays to think like an Olympic athlete. When you meet a goal, celebrate for a few minutes. Then get back in the game and start training for the next big thing.
 

3 Ways to Make Yourself Uncomfortable

I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of business success, and I’ve found there are a couple of different ways to push yourself forward after a big win.

1. Keep climbing the value ladder.
One way to take your company to the next level is to reinvest your profits right back into the business. Ask yourself, “Is my business the best it can be?” and “Have I created an experience or just a commodity?” If you’re not happy with the answers, it’s time to double down. In 2013, my team and I did this when we made a huge investment in our data center. We could have stuck with the services we already offered and rested on those laurels, but instead, we bought thousands of dollars of equipment and started providing server hosting because we knew it would make our client experience better.

It was a leap of faith, and it paid off! Since then, we’ve made two more big investments in our data center, and it’s now our fastest-growing service. I guarantee there are opportunities in your business that will have the same effect.

2. Start a new venture.
If you don’t see a ripe opportunity for reinvestment, keep yourself sharp by starting a new project. That’s how I got into the Airbnb business. If I’d rested on my laurels, I never would have built this successful side hustle or had all the fun I’ve had fixing up properties. The biggest challenge with Airbnb is that after I finish a project, like I just did, I have to remember not to rest on those laurels but keep going.

3. Invest your money away.
I think of money sitting in the bank as “dead money.” It can start to feel like a security blanket and either incentivize laziness or poor spending. So, when I have the opportunity, I invest in valuable assets. That keeps my bank accounts lean and pushes me to generate more revenue.
 
If you’re feeling like you are resting on your laurels, reach out to me. Let’s grab lunch and share experiences on ways to help keep each other motivated! I’ve done this many times with friends (new and old), and at the least, we both walk away with a renewed outlook and energized.
 

-Randy Sklar

 

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