A few days ago I found myself at a college basketball game.
I would like to say that the game was exciting all the way to the end... but in reality, the game was decided in the first 5 minutes as the home team started the game scoring the first 19 points and really didn’t take their foot off the accelerator the entire first half.
The home team went into the locker room at halftime with a 52-12 lead.
Now it would have been easy for the other team to decide that they weren’t going to come back out to play the second half of the game.
They were out-manned at every position and had a 40-point deficit to try and overcome.
Yet the visitors did come back onto the floor for the second-half and although it was still a blow-out at the end of the game, the visitors never once gave up trying.
The coach of the losing team kept trying to employ new offensive strategies and defensive sets. During a 2-minute stretch, the opposing team outscored the home team 8-0 and forced the home team coach to call a time-out to settle down his kids.
Even though the final outcome of the game was never in doubt, both teams never thought about quitting and used the time on the court to work on plays that they might need to use at some point in the future.
The players on both teams played as though this game would come down to the final seconds and worked extremely hard on both offense and defense.
In the end the home team won by a 51-point margin but I was still fascinated by the level of intensity demonstrated by both teams during the entire 40 minutes.
Both teams refused to let up. Both coaches were able to use this game as a learning tool for future games. All of the players were slightly better players after this game than they were before the game started.
For most people in the stands, the outcome of the game was a foregone conclusion after only a few minutes into the game... but try telling that to the kids on the floor who were playing as though it was the last game they would ever play.
Well coached teams are working hard to the very end trying to improve themselves for the next game... regardless of the score of the current game.
So about this time you may be wondering... what does a narrative about a blow-out college basketball game have to do with me?
Today being December 20th, this year is practically finished for many companies and individuals... the sales numbers are in... and everything that can ship has already shipped...
People’s attentions are now focused on online shopping, arranging travel plans, or deciding what to serve at this year’s holiday party...
We have worked hard all year and now is the time to put the engine on cruise control and relax a bit... January will come soon enough and most of our work can just wait until then.
Here’s the thing though, even though this year appears to be over... it’s not... the game is still being played... and although it may seem meaningless at this point... there is still time on the clock.
There are still eleven more days ahead of us... eleven days that we’ll never get back... eleven more days that we can use to possibly prepare ourselves for success in 2014 and beyond.
This is the time of the year where there is no one around to bother us from getting that big project completed... the project that is meaningful but we simply don’t have time to do during the other parts of the year...
The next eleven days are the perfect time to organize your files... create an action plan for the upcoming year... work on that new catalog... learn how to use the new features in the MRP system...
Even if there are few customers who will take time to see us before the end of the year... maybe we can start scheduling our sales calls for next year now instead of waiting until mid-January.
Now you might say... "the holidays are called ’holidays’... because we aren’t required to work"... and technically you’d be right... however a few days can quickly turn into a few weeks on either side of the holidays...
Forget about doing any real work the last 20 days of December and perhaps the first 15 days of January... getting going again... add up all the "down days" and that’s close to 5 weeks or 10% of the year wasted...
If you’re satisfied with the money you earn... or the position you have... or what you currently know... then there is no reason to be compelled to try any harder... just let the clock run out... who cares at this point... the game is all but over...
However if you want to add more sales next year... you’re not satisfied with your performance and want to improve it in some way... you want to be more organized... you want to start the new year with a head-start on your competition...
... then today is the day to start working like it was January first... today is the day to start New Year’s resolutions... today is the day we begin preparations for tomorrow...
Today is not meaningless... unless we let it become meaningless...
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