“If you want to know the real character of man, intentionally and timely give him the test of 3d’s; delay, denial and disappointment”

Ernest Agyemang Yeboah


Perfect Timing Doesn’t Happen, It Is Created

Time is a tool in the hands of a properly prepared business owner. You have done the research. You know the trends of today and what may be on the horizon. You know the history of the market and how it reacts. You know what you need to successfully serve the customers that you are preparing for in the coming days. Timing is easy to reflect on in boating or golf. The elements either work for you or against you. You can have the right club on the right green and feel healthy and loose and ready, but you look out and see that the wind isn’t right yet. Thewind is blowing the grass and leaves towards your direction, against where you need it to in order to get that extra oomph you need to put the ball where you want it. Maybe there’s some fog on the water or something’s just off in the weather. Maybe it’s a little to grey to be this late in the early morning and it smells like a storm might be brewing. You may have banked on the Weather channel. You were told that right now everything was supposed to be ready to go. There is a reality that you will be confronted with days where everything is so close to falling into place that it can be grueling to wait, but if you wait, it will all pay off in the end.


I don’t know about you, but I used to really struggle with being ready. I rushed things. I heard about trends or sure fire opportunities and I worked hard to be ready in the short window of time I had between hearing and being ready to act. Often that led to failure. I had to learn there is a reality that just because you hear something is going to happen and be profitable, it is often to late to get in on it. By the time you hear its time to move, someone else has been preparing and waiting for some time now to move and win in the moment. I could go buy all the same stuff. I could try to sell the same things. I could try to replicate every external aspect of a business, but what separated their success from my failure was one thing: preparation. They were ready and waiting and I was rushing and reacting.


I like football, especially Arkansas Razorback football, so that is what I will use for this illustration, but really any sport or skill would have the same truth. When I played football, we practiced. The really good teams practiced a lot. You work on your speed and agility. You fine tune your accuracy and precision. You develop and grow your skills and identify your weaknesses. You lift weights and you bear crawl hills. You run laps and sprints. You practice in pads and without pads. You practice in the heat of the summer and you play in the rain and snow of the fall and winter. The really good teams I got to be a part of did something else though. They drilled into game time interactions.

We fought our toughest opponents longer and harder on the practice field than we would have to in the game. We learned them better than we knew ourselves and we interacted on both sides, as part of both teams, in practice by teaching and training through imitation. By the time we played, we had already beaten those teams time and time again before we stepped foot in the field. We were mentally prepared and we were physically prepared. We knew if we would need water or to shift players on and off field repeatedly. We knew when one of our teammates was showing signs of weakness or fatigue. We had failed in practice over and over and we learned what we needed to succeed when the time came. We also knew what it would look like to be in a bad position, one that would work against us. Because of this, we looked for those moments and then acted to change things back the other direction. We were prepared and because we were prepared, we were confident, not afraid and not full of ourselves. Getting prepared made us ready to win.


Your market and business may be a bit different than football (unless it is football), but you can apply those same principles. Ready your business and your strategy. As you envisioned your business, use the time before you take off to think through your toughest opponents. How many customers is too many? When will you lose quality and fail to maintain your standard? What happens if your supplier runs out of a product you need? Where else can you get it? How long will it take to implement it? What if someone calls in or is pregnant or gets hit by a car? Are you able to continue moving the business? How long will it take to recover? Who is your backup? What about lawsuits? Will you have a lawyer? Are they good? Who’s the backup? Do you have the money to fight the battle? What if there is a fire in your office or warehouse?

Try to think through the scenarios that would stress or test you and run fire drills where it makes sense. Look for answers. Build your network. But don’t rest in it. You will need to be free enough to alter even your most known courses if you have to. That’s the thing about practice and preparation when it comes to reality. You can’t prepare for everything. You can’t outthink every opponent. There was always another team just as hungry as we were. The difference between winning or losing in those times was persistence, endurance. We had to remain patient. We needed to be able to step back and observe what was going on. We had to remain confident. We needed to know that the other team’s scoring on us or stopping us wasn’t a guaranteed win. Once we saw a weakness, we would turn it and capitalize. Rushing leads to mistakes. Fear does as well. And we had to wait, to rest while working. We hit that line every time the ball hiked. We ran. We fought. We watched. We sweated and yelled or used signals. We were acting the whole time, but our minds were at rest…waiting…trusting…watching….and ready.


You ever heard that (insert whatever) separates the men from the boys? Well, what I am saying is timing separates the prepared or victorious from the unprepared. Time is a tool that distinguishes. All the work in the background made the difference, but that work needed a stage and the stage is time and place. When the right time, the time you have been waiting on, arrives…when the sky clears up or the wind shifts back towards the green…and you do what you’ve been training to do, its only right to reap the benefits, the fruit of all that work. It may not happen all the time. Sometimes it goes the other way. You might experience beginner’s luck, but not beginner’s longevity. Long-term success comes from years of plodding and preparing to be an “overnight success”. Really. Ask one. They’ll tell you.

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