Entrepreneurs don’t like losing. We hate it. We’d rather not compete if we feel we can’t win.
We ideally stay clear of the moshpit and chart uncharted territory.
But sometimes competition is unavoidable. You want the same thing someone else wants.
The secret to winning is to pick your battles. Save your energy for the big stuff and then focus on one battle at a time.
Before fighting you must ask yourself, “Do I really want this?”
This question applies to coffee, spouses, new clients, everything.
If the answer is “No”, don’t sweat it. Don’t fight. Life too short to fight for something you don’t really want.
If the answer is “Yes” then fight as if your life depends on it. Be the pitbull. Do whatever it takes to win so long as you don’t mind your kids finding out one day, because they will one day find out. No more secrets. The Internet is here.
Remember, your kids will also find out that you didn’t fight when you should have.
Al Gore should have fought in 2000. Instead he took the moral highground and handed a bitterly contested election to the man who was running America when terrorists flew into a skyscraper in NYC.
“Moral highground is the most expensive real estate in the world” Larry Ellison.
Turns out Larry was right.
Screw the moral high ground. Al Gore’s decision to not fight the 2000 election decision resulted in the deaths of thousands of people in the Middle East and other countries, including Americans.
I like to think Gore wouldn’t have overacted to 9/11, achieving Bin Laden’s dreams beyond his wildest hopes.
I like to think Gore wouldn’t have invaded Iraq and created a power vacuum in the most politically sensitive area of the world.
I like to think Gore would have foreseen the consequences of “bomb the bastards” directly resulting in a toddler lying drowned on a Mediterranean beach.
I too have taken the easy path. There were times when I should have fought, to protect myself, my family and my friends. But I didn’t. I chickened out. I rationalized by saying things like “I would have lost anyway.”
Don’t be a chicken.
If the answer is “Yes” then you must fight tooth and nail for what you want. Pacino said it all in Any Given Sunday. “You must claw the eyes of the enemy.”
You must win.
And if you don’t win you must look your kids in the eyes and say “I tried my best”.
That’s why getting your priorities straight is important. Otherwise you won’t know what you are willing to fight for.