More Business lessons from the circus

stephen_peer_niagara.jpgPeople that have known me for a long time know that I often use circus skills as a metaphor for life and business. When I was learning how to rope walk, my instructor at the time was fond of quoting his instructor (imitating his indeterminate accent) that would always yell at him: “Never jump off the rope! The rope is life!”  What he was referring to is a bad and dangerous habit that young rope walkers can develop. When someone feels like they are about to fall off the rope in practice, they will usually go ahead and step off rather than let themselves fall. It seems to make sense at the time because you’re usually only a couple of feet off the ground, so you just step off and start over again. However, the difficulty is that you create a sense memory to step off the rope when falling, rather than training yourself to fall and grabbing it as you go down. This is the difference between falling off 2 feet from the ground and falling off a rope at 60ft.  At 60 feet off the ground, stepping off has distinct disadvantages compared to the fall and grab method.

And this relates to business how?
People will do the same thing when they’re presenting material that they don’t feel quite confident about. We’ve all heard this a hundred times before; someone is about to give a presentation and they apologize for it in some way. The information’s not quite finished, or that the ideas are not as big as they want them to be. This is the equivalent of jumping off the rope at the first moment you feel like you’re about to fall. It’s the worst thing you can do for the same reasons. It doesn’t matter whether you are just talking to colleagues in the office or you’re giving a presentation to the CEO, it’s the same thing as training yourself to let the fall off the rope happen at 2 feet or 60. You have to commit and believe and trust in fact that what you have to say is important and worthwhile and there are people around that are spotting you so you won’t take that catastrophic fall from a simple 2 feet.

Just a thought.