Horse is a fun game isn’t it? If you are like me, though, you haven’t played it in twenty years. It’s a one on one test of skill where you try and make the most complicated shots. When your opponent cannot match the shot you made, he gets a letter to spell the word H.O.R.S.E. Finish the word, lose the game.
Now, in business, I tend to finding the steepest, most difficult mountain face and try to climb it. That one must yield the most success, right? I hear the same thing from businesses that I advise. They are trying to build a startup by incorporating to sell jelly door to door. They try to spend 60+ hours building a top of the line website when they have a difficult time logging in to their email account. To put it simply, most every business I work with tries to reinvent the wheel instead of using the easy free throw.
In basketball, on average, people hit less than 50% of free throws. So statistically, you could beat an opponent in ten turns with only free throws. Maybe not as epic, but you still win. And in business, that is the name of the game, isn’t it? To win and do what you are meant to do.
To live in a free-throw thinking mindset is to think differently from everyone else. You will think of solutions that no one else thinks of and create success that others are not capable of.
I once met a woman who flips houses for a living. She was moving into a smaller town with a lot of politics and they didn’t welcome “outsiders.” A member of the city council kept slapping government ordinances and such on the house, trying to make the task of flipping so cumbersome that the flipper would give up and leave. The $100,000 house had acquired more than $200,000 in government required spending and fees. That council member was her challenge and the fees were her mountain face. She took the free throw. She signed over the deed to the council member, making him legally responsible for all of the problems he created for the investor. The action took no longer than five minutes and didn’t require a lot of skill. Fill in some names, sign it, and file it with the city. The fees magically disappeared and she was able to keep flipping, just like she wanted to do.
Learning to take the free throws is a mindset shift. It’s taking normal problems that people face and thinking differently about solutions. One way to practice is to list all of the challenges in your career, right now. It may be more clients/customers, negotiating vendor costs, or increasing your take home pay. Pick one and sit on it for a day. Keep it near the front of your mind. Ask your business consultant, close network and best friend. Gain that fresh perspective and hear their most creative ideas.
After a good bit of practice (and I do mean a good bit) you will be thinking in free throws naturally, without effort. You will be much less burdened by challenges. You will spend more time living in your own personal calling.