Hustle without Rushing

At Steiner Sports we're kicking into high gear with a lot of big upcoming signings, the start of the baseball season and the NBA Playoffs. It took me back to a blog post I wrote last Summer that I knew I just had to post today.

Remember that quote from Ricky Bobby?

As an entrepreneur and a marketer, I sometimes get obsessed with being "first to market." And, as I've said before, we always have to be aware of our limited time on earth.

These conditions sometimes lead to the urge to rush through all the tasks in a day. And having an internet that tells you what everyone else is doing in "real time" doesn't exactly make you want to "stop and smell the roses." It all makes you want to go 90 miles an hour.

But sometimes (a holiday weekend being such a time) it's important to remember that while getting things done efficiently is a pillar of success, the key is to hustle without rushing.

Hustling means staying busy and focused and moving rapidly - but at the same time not getting distracted and not ignoring pitfalls.

Rushing means staying busy and moving rapidly - pretty much at the expense of all else.

In 2004 at Steiner, after the Red Sox won the World Series, I wanted to sign the entire team to a collectibles deal. And so we rushed to sign one particular player, ignoring some red flags. As I describe in my book:

While a vast majority of the players were relatively agreeable, pitcher Curt Schilling kept holding us up for more money. He was extremely difficult to interact with, but I still wanted him because I thought we needed everyone. Curt had been a Major League star for a long time. I thought about the famous bloody sock he pitched with during the Yankees series, and how much he seemed to have enmeshed himself in New England. I thought Curt would be loved forever and a day in the region. So we caved to his demands.

To this date, it’s the most we’ve paid to an athlete for that type of deal.

Unfortunately, we were so swept up with covering all our bases, that we didn’t take the time to do the due diligence to truly see if the Schilling base was worth it.

As it turned out, it wasn’t.

In the end, Curt didn’t have the kind of lasting popularity we need for our business. Many of his items are still gathering dust on our warehouse shelves.

I look back on that period, and I realize we were rushing and not hustling. If we had been hustling, we never would have skipped all the due diligence - a key ingredient to any good deal. Since we were rushing - since our only priority was being first to have all the Red Sox signed - we threw our usual background research by the wayside.

And we paid for it. In a way, it reminds me of a sprinter who wins a gold medal, but gets disqualified after the fact for doping.

In effect, when you rush instead of hustle, you're cheating. Yourself, if no one else.

And it will always come back to bite you.

Of course, you also probably remember that towards the end of Ricky Bobby, Reese sets his son straight:

Ricky Bobby: Wait, Dad. Don't you remember the time you told me "If you ain't first, you're last"?

Reese Bobby: Huh? What are you talking about, Son?

Ricky Bobby: That day at school.

Reese Bobby: Oh hell, Son, I was high that day. That doesn't make any sense at all, you can be second, third, fourth... hell you can even be fifth.

In the long run, being a quality fifth, instead of a rushed, vulnerable first, is always preferable.

Remember that next time you're "in a rush."

Everyday I ask myself, “What else?” How can I go further? How can I add value, differentiate and be a market disruptor? The way to have a more productive life and to add value both at work and at home, is by paying attention to details. My success as an entrepreneur over the years has been dictated by that. Subscribe to this blog to read more about how you can achieve that success, as well. Always remember, “What Else is in the Details.”

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