Sometimes you have to drop the ball : An Outside idea

Dropping the ball

In 1999, before “Google” was a verb, the second most popular search engine was Excite. One of Google’s founders, Larry Page, wanted to sell Google to Excite for a mere $750,000 if the company would agree to replace its tech with Google search tech.

The Excite CEO at the time, George Bell, wasn’t too excited by the company and declined the offer.

But as fate would have it, Google went on to dominate the world and become the most valuable brand in the world, worth over £180 billion.

It’s no secret that George Bell dropped the ball BIG TIME. And Google probably wouldn’t be what it is today if he had made a different decision.

All was not lost, as Excite was eventually bought by Ask.com and still exists till today.

But let’s be honest…

It was a big blunder, and he would probably go back in time if he could.

But supposing George had taken up the offer. It would have meant a lot of extra hours at the office. They’d have had to do a lot of restructuring, leaving him with little to no time for leisure and spending time with his family. And he would probably have regretted that, too. One ball had to be dropped, and the offer to buy Google was the sacrificial lamb.

When it comes to business, it’s INEVITABLE that at some point, you’ll drop the ball. The sooner you pick up the pieces and carry on, the better for you.

Sometimes you have to drop the ball.

Running a business is one of the toughest things someone can do. It’s hard work and long hours, often with little or no opportunity to celebrate the stuff that goes well. Often it’s a race from one fire to the next and we all do our very best to keep the balls in the air when things get busy.

And that’s ok, it’s sustainable in the short term, as long as all of the other balls that you’re juggling stay in the air.

The reality of the matter is that there are some balls which can be more easily recovered than others. There are glass balls and there are rubber balls.

If you mess up at work, you can fix it. It’s a rubber ball, it can’t break. If you miss out on a big business opportunity, you can always find another one, probably even bigger. If your client is unhappy with your work, you can work harder to please them next time.

When George Bell declined the offer to buy Google, he probably did regret it. It was a big issue. But truth be told, it was a rubber ball that was recovered when Ask.com eventually bought Excite.

But there are some balls that are simply made of glass. When it comes to your family, friends, health, and spirit, recovery is definitely not that simple.

You can’t go back in time to spend more time with your family, or to hear your kids’ first words, or to take them to their first day at school. You can’t go back in time to spend more time with your wife. Once you drop that ball, it’s hard, sometimes impossible, to recover.

As Bryan Dyson, former CEO, Coca-Cola says, “If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same.”

The glass ball

You have to protect the glass ball with everything in you, lest it falls and breaks permanently.

My goal when I created this business was to create business and life in balance, for our clients and for us. Sarah and I have one son who we adore with our whole hearts and he’s been going through some real challenges since he started school, and he needed us.

From the day he started primary, we knew that we would sacrifice EVERYTHING to support him on his school journey, and as a result our family ball started to weigh 5x as much as it had before we started school. We’ve spent hundreds of hours reading, researching and supporting our boy (and we’ll to).

The thing is, when you say yes to something so big you MUST say no to something else, you have to accept that some balls will drop. Even with the rubber ball bouncing, we’ve experienced chinks and nicks to our other precious balls but the thing is, our most important glass ball is still strong.

It’s been hard dropping the rubber ball. I’ve often felt like a failure and a fraud for not practising what I preach. I’ve let people down, I’ve made excuses and I’ve not been proud of it. It’s been tough.

It made me sick.

But I keep coming back to my beliefs – vested in me by Napoleon Hill; “Don’t quit 3 feet from gold” and the saying, “when things get tough, learn to rest, not quit“.

Our son is in a stable more happy place and getting phenomenal support from his amazing school, the teachers, and the health workers who are caring for him. He’s in a good spot and we are lucky, our hard work for him is paying off. 

Never be afraid to drop the rubber ball, just don’t let it stop bouncing. We will rise, we will bounce and we’ll be stronger than ever.

Next week, we’ll be talking about the things that you need to do so that you don’t drop the ball. As we head into the Jubilee weekend, we recognise that A LOT of business owners don’t get to go on holiday, and that’s sad.

 Stick with us to find out what you can do so that you balance your business and your life. And remember to take that holiday! Your spirit and zeal for work is a glass ball.

Onwards and upwards,

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