No time-outs, no substitutions
Founder, Fundraising Heavy Hitter, Public Speaker and Market Strategist
Just focus on doing two things that will drive your business every day.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to have endurance.
Your job is to show up and work as hard as you can for as long as you can.
Lesson: She Works with Rachel Braun Scherl
Step #10 Rollerball: No time-outs, no substitutions
In my family humor has always been a core part of how we communicate, so I think compared to the average person I was never really squeamish talking about things. When I was talking about things that made other people uncomfortable I feel like I really had to up my game. So part of the reason I became comfortable is one, I added some humor, which gave it levity for me and gave it levity to the people I was speaking with. Then, as you know, when you're running a business and you talk about the same topic over and over again, at some point the specifics become irrelevant.
I'm talking about a package that I want to sell the consumer, and I'm talking about manufacturing. It's a business. What became very clear is that my comfort with talking about it, could be a growth strategy. So I really did focus on making sure that I continued to be comfortable and I could answer questions and that I never was the reason that someone was uncomfortable talking about female sexual health.
I find that so much of my thinking was shaped by watching my father. Growing up as he navigated our family and was in business. One of the things that we did all the time, we watched movies. We watched funny movies, we would repeat the lines over and over again and I'm often asked "What is, sort of, your motto or your slogan?" One of the movies that I watched with my dad over and over again was a movie called "Rollerball", and at that point it was a futuristic movie. The star was James Caan and he was an athlete in this game called "Rollerball" and he was a superstar "Rollerball" player.
"Rollerball" was men in skates skating around almost a roller derby rink with blades on their gloves and the concept was you played to the death. You literally played until you were the last – in this case, the last man standing, and every time before this team, the people who were left standing, went to face another opponent, the coach said something that became our family motto. Not just for business, but in a lot of ways. "No times outs, no substitutions."
We've translated that in our family, and I've translated that in my business career, to be "You show up, you work as hard as you can as long as you can until you can't work anymore. Then you come back and do it the next day." I don't mean that you do it until you get sick and I don't mean that you do it at the exclusion of all your other responsibilities. But the idea that it's your work, it's your effort, it's your focus that's ultimately going to get you where you're going. I feel that as an entrepreneur, taking in that idea of no time outs, no substitutions, go to the office or wherever you work every day and say "I have to accomplish two things today." Not 10 things, not 20 things, because we've all made those endless lists, where you don't feel any better at the end of the day because you've crossed off 3 items on a list of 100.
Go in and find two things you could do every day that will drive your business. Whether that's hiring people, whether that's finding a new customer, whether that's writing something, whether that's giving a speech, whatever it is – restructuring your finances – and really focus. You don't get time outs, if you want to get to the end goal, which, ultimately in the case of most entrepreneurs, is a successful business, however you personally define success.
I believe that to be a successful entrepreneur, in addition to passion, in addition to skills, in addition to a great idea or great ideas, you really have to have endurance. They use the expression, or I think Cokie Roberts came up with the expression that "Life is a marathon, not a sprint." I think when you're an entrepreneur it's both. I think you're running as fast as you can, as hard as you can, for as long as you can, until you achieve the objective that you have for your venture.