In high school I played two sports, soccer and football. Soccer was the sport where even the practices were fun. Football was the sport where I lived for the games but hated the practices. I quickly found out how effort mattered in both. We had a football coach, Coach B, who had a saying that he would always use to motivate: “Do it right, do it light!”
Fast forward 11 years from high school graduation, and the adage still carries weight.
Ever heard the saying: “work smarter, not harder?” The two phrases relate quite closely. In my football days, “do it right, do it light” meant something that everyone on the team knew. It meant that whatever drill we were involved in would be significantly less pleasant if everyone put in their full effort and went 100% the first time. We all know how peer pressure works. We would urge on or even yell at the guys not doing the drill correctly. After enough badgering, even the most defiant prankster would fall into line. I’m sure that was the ultimate goal of Coach B and his staff. He wanted to gel us into a team that communicated and pushed one another.
In the business world, wasted effort wastes everyone’s time. It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur with customers to keep happy or you have a boss or team to keep happy. And that aspect is not much different from life. Those chores around the house get a lot longer when you do them sloppily or lazily, don’t they? If you have kids, try pushing them through an activity they don’t want to do and see how well you succeed.
So what’s the lesson in all of this? Well, like football practice, you had to know the plays to know the tactics. Each position, offense or defense, has a place to be when the ball is hiked. If even one person is out of position, there is a gap and the potential to give up a huge play. And to know the plays, you have to practice. As much as I thrived on the energy of the game, I needed some clue on where to go to block, run a route, or make a play. Practice mattered. I needed to accomplish the drills to play in the game. The team needed to accomplish those drills to work together effectively in the games. If we did the countless little things right, the big things fell into place.
Effort: The Gridiron to the Business World
Business is no different. Our small business friends see this probably more than anyone else because of the multiple hats they must wear. No matter your position, there will always be tasks that are outside your comfort zone. You may not be particularly adept at them. They might even be boring. Maybe you just want the glory of the sale rather than slugging it through new product design or a new marketing plan. Either way, the task must get done, and that is something you know whether you want to do it or not.
So the next time you begin encountering the resistance of procrastination, just remember “do it right, do it light!” In business, doing it right is clearing your calendar for three hours to get it done or outsourcing or delegating because your time is precious. Either way, focus not on the misery but the reward. The quicker the task is correctly done, the quicker you can put that thing behind you and move on to something else.