A few weeks ago an epic storm blew through Kentucky. My wife and I lay awake the entire night as deafening thunderclaps shattered any thought of rest. Blinding bolts of lightning jolted us awake again and again for eight hours straight, and the house shook without end.
The next day dawned bright and clear, and the air was sweet. Groggy, we comforted each other after a night neither of us wanted to repeat. But then we realized…
We had missed the show of a lifetime! Instead of pining for sleep and cursing the storm, we could have gone outside to experience Mother Nature at her most spectacular. In the heart of the action, we both knew we weren’t going to get any rest, so why did we resist?
Let’s look at it from a business perspective. There are only two paths to success:
Dance in the rain. Make yourself open to wrenching, radical change. A tumultuous environment always holds the potential for incredibly positive results. When everyone else is running away from the storm out of fear or ignorance, fly into it and use those lightning bolts to fuel your rocket. Is everyone else claiming that a shiny new technology will ‘disrupt’ everything and spell ‘the end’ for traditional business? Seize it with both hands and leverage it on your own terms.
The way SumoMe is growing is a perfect example of this. The culture of ‘work’ is changing in ways no one would have guessed even ten years ago. We are witnessing a shift from work-one-job-in-one-place-forever to run-several-businesses-from-anywhere. The team at AppSumo is riding this rocket their own way, and I have no doubt that even if the underlying technology changes they’ll find a way to continue their success.
Preserve your strength for the next great opportunity. The other option may seem less scary but it is no less difficult: Ignore the commotion completely. Size it up, see it for what it is without bias or assumptions, and stay focused on your central endeavour. It’s easy to surrender to fear and distraction, but it’s more difficult – and more valuable – to recognize when these hold no purpose.
Doing one thing extremely well has served the McIlhenny family for over 140 years. Do you have any idea how many hot sauces are on the market? And yet they never lose sight of their core mission: keep it simple, keep it unique, and keep it appealing. Others may come and go, but that lingering heat lives on.
For any manager or leader of a company who has sought to avoid this dilemma, I have one simple suggestion: Get comfortable being uncomfortable. If you jump at every little noise or bright light, no one will ever know which of those jumps is the one that really matters. When your response to every change is a reaction, you’ll never be able to respond.
Don’t miss out on your chance…. to dance in the rain.
I shared a recipe for homemade hot sauce a few days ago, but if you’re going to put hot sauce on everything let’s make it something controversial. With a bottle of hot sauce nearby, it’s never been a better time to eat your greens. Enjoy these recipes for Creamed Spinach from Ellis Barnstable. If you need more reasons to love spinach, check out some of the pictures which accompanied the original article, from the talented Emi Uchida.