We love going BIG, don’t we? We want a home run, not a single. We want a deep pass for 6 points, not a good three yard run for a first down. We love the slam dunk or the three pointer, not the layup.
I get it. I want the huge successes, too. There is definitely a time to go big. But what if going for the home run every time actually stalls your success? What if going slightly smaller is better?
I’m a slow walker, but I never walk back.
I just got back from vacation where I had the opportunity to go surfing again. (Even if you don’t surf, hang with me. I think everyone will get this analogy.) It was the first time in a long time back in the water. The waves were pretty good. The outside set was about five feet with decent form. I wanted to catch some of those.
So, I paddled out through some tough whitewater. I was physically drained by the time I got to the outside break. I immediately tried to catch a wave. My arms were noodles, I wasn’t able to pop up on the board and I wiped out.
Now I was back in the whitewater and had to struggle to get back in position to “go big.” This time I waited until my arms had some strength back in them. But, now the big waves I was waiting on weren’t coming as often. I tried and missed a couple more. After waiting another 15 minutes I finally caught a big one. It was sweet. Nice drop in and a good bottom turn. But then it kind of died out. Total wave time 8 seconds, max.
I was then faced with a decision: Should I fight through the whitewater again and wait another 15 minutes for one “big ride,” or should I try the inside break that isn’t quite as big, but is more consistent, has better form, and longer rides?
I chose to the inside break. Almost immediately I caught a good, long ride. It was easy to paddle back to the break and I caught another wave after a little rest. I kept doing this for about half an hour. In that time I enjoyed about 10 solid rides and didn’t kill myself trying to paddle out through the really rough stuff.
Instead of “Going Big” I went slightly smaller and had a blast.
This can work with our personal and business goals too. Instead of putting all your effort into that big client, how about getting several really good ones? Instead of trying to lose a pound a day, how about two pounds a week?
Is there somewhere in your life where you’re trying to “go big” and it isn’t working? How about going medium for a while instead? I know it’s not as sexy as the long ball or the hail Mary, but it might be better.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.