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As entrepreneurs, we have to make millions of decisions every day. Some are more important decisions, such as “Which project should we prioritize?” or “When should I hire support and who should I hire?” Other decisions seem small: “Shall I have a glass of wine with lunch?” or “Can I sleep in an extra 15 minutes this morning?”
I’ve found that even small decisions and seemingly insignificant actions can make a huge difference in your business! They worsen. These small decisions can take you to huge success or make you spin. Now I know we don’t have time to scrutinize every decision, make pros and cons lists of everything we do, like, “What are the pros and cons of hitting the snooze button this morning?” Instead, I’ve discovered a powerful, simple question that gold medal-winning Olympic athletes have used.
Related: The 5 Decisions That Will Change Your Life As An businesskinda.com Forever
From losing 88 years to Olympic gold
I heard about it briefly youtube video with Ben Hunt Davis. Mr. Hunt-Davis had been on the UK national 8-man rowing team for nine years and was on the team when they won the gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. The best thing about that story is not that they won, but how they won. It was based on one question that guided all of their decisions for the two years leading up to the race.
Firstly, you should know that the British rowing team has not won at the Olympics for 88 years! Can you imagine what losing 88 years would do to a team’s morale? I’m sure most teams would have felt like it was hopeless or they were cursed! But this team knew that if they wanted a different result, they had to do something different every day. As he explained, they knew they had to take a “leap” to the next level.
The Olympic gold power issue
Mr Hunt-Davis points out in the video that most people think winning at the Olympics is about what you do in the minutes of the race. But that is not it. Just like it’s not the specific moment when you land that $1 million contract. It is what you do in all the hours, days and years leading up to it. And that’s what the team focused on to change.
How? By asking one question for every big and small decision: “Will this make the boat go faster?”
As Mr. Hunt-Davis explains, “Before we all got on the rowing machine to practice for 70 minutes, we asked ourselves, ‘Will the boat go faster?’ Unfortunately, yes. So that’s what we’d do. Before going to the pub, we’d ask, “Is the boat moving faster?” Unfortunately not. So we didn’t.”
The team asked each other this question in every decision during the months leading up to their race. This one question kept them focused and gave the men on the team a strong bond, knowing that they were all using the same criteria to determine what actions to take.
The British team failed to win their first heat at the Olympics, so they had an uphill battle to take the gold. No one but the team itself thought they could win. Even during the finals when they were ahead, the broadcasters announced that they doubted the team could pull it off, just as you might have some naysayers who doubt you’ll ever succeed. But, like your naysayers, these announcers were judging the past, not the big and small decisions that had guided all of the team’s actions over the previous two years.
Related: 5 factors that contribute to the success of your business
Success through your own power question
Of course, this isn’t just a story about a rowing team. This story is about how to focus so you can stay on track and achieve what you want. And it’s something we can all train ourselves into. So, what power question can you use before making a decision? Maybe it’s, “Will this grow my business to $2 million this year?” or “Will this make my body healthier?” or “Will this help me attract and retain more customers?” If you have some very specific or new goals you’re working on, you may want to ask your own specific question.
I use “Will this make the boat go faster?” I am crystal clear about both my business and personal goals. So if I say, “Will this make the boat go faster?” I say, “Will this get me where I want to go?” Plus it reminds me of the image of that British team crossing the finish line cheering!
Once you have your question, it’s the power to apply it to every decision you make. For example, if I’m doing my intense 3-day workout, I might want to have a cocktail or two the night before. But will the boat go through faster? No, so I don’t. If I’m tempted to work on a new project all weekend, will the boat speed up in my marriage? No, so I spend some hours enjoying the weekend with my husband.
Related: 5 easy ways to improve your work-life balance
Every decision you make and every action you take, big and small, impacts the trajectory of your business and your life. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your small decisions aren’t important. Try using your power question and see the difference it makes in your choices and actions.
Mr. Hunt-Davis had one last word that touched me: “What drove us forward was knowing how bitter it would taste if we weren’t willing to take that leap.” Avoid that bitter taste! Use your power call to get a jump!
Janice has been with businesskinda for 5 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider businesskinda team, Janice seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.