I’ve written about fundamentals at length. Understanding this concept at its core is crucial, yet few people do so. Those who do, accomplish what the many consider outstanding, unimaginable, and sometimes mystical.
A house will collapse if its foundation is weak.
A company will close doors if the groundwork isn’t set properly.
A relationship will never withstand the storm if the core values aren’t set in stone.
Your health will be seriously damaged if you don’t get quality sleep, provide your body with the right nutrients and skip exercises.
The majority of people invest their precious time looking for new “things” to acquire. Some run after material stuff whereas others want to learn new skills or experience new adventures. AND, there’s nothing wrong about it. What’s dangerous though is if you replace the mastering of the basics with the search for new.
Let’s look at a couple of examples in sports before we move into business.
SWIMMING: The most important thing in swimming is proper breathing. Whatever your swimming level, unless you master your breathing technique (esp. exhaling under the water – disregarded even by some advanced swimmers who like to hold onto their breath under the water) you’ll never be able to become extraordinary. Breathing is the engine that drives the physical effort.
JUDO: The most important thing in judo is the study of falling. The so called Ukemi or fall breaking (which includes front, back, right, and left break falls, as well as a forward roll break fall) is a fundamental part of all Judo techniques.
I had my first judo training at the age of 13. Learning to fall the right way transformed my life. Not only did I never break a bone or have a massive injury since but it also enabled me to figure skate with a level of confidence other kids never had. I wasn’t afraid to fall because I knew I could land the right way. Nevertheless, I practiced fall breaking for tens of thousands of times in my judo classes. It didn’t require me to think about it or waste additional energy and resources on it. It turned into a reflex action that happened automatically.
The Art of Mastering the Fundamentals in Business
Studying the fundamentals, sticking day in and day out to building a strong foundation requires resilience and a mind of steel.
The very same principles that reign in the world of sports, also apply to business and other areas of your life. Only when you practice and come back to your basics on a regular basis, do you see flaws in the structure and are able to strengthen the very core of what you’re building: a sustainable, thriving business that will inspire many generations to come.
It’s always the root that produces the fruits. And yet, so many people who don’t like the fruits of their own tree move on to creating new fruits without understanding the simple fact that by making some changes to the roots of that one tree they’d get an entirely different harvest.
Let’s have a look at some of the foundational elements of a successful and sustainable business:
- Knowing you. What makes you tick? What are your deepest fears? What are your greatest strengths? What are your dreams? Why were you put on this planet?
- Understanding where you are at the current moment.
- Having a crystal clear vision of where it is that you want to go.
- Creating an action plan and executing on it. Also be willing to revise, adjust and improve the action plan as you move forward.
- Playing to your strengths. Stop wasting your precious time on correcting your weaknesses. Double, triple down on your strengths. As goes my favorite saying: “Focus on your strengths because you’re never going to excel at what you do worst.”
- Knowing whom you want to serve (target audience). Don’t be afraid to exclude the people and categories of people you don’t want to work with. Put your energy onto those who want and appreciate your help.
- Not being afraid to be you (positioning). What do you stand for and against? What makes you, your business, the products/ services you’re offering unique or different?
- Picking the right vehicle. What industry are you most experienced in? What marketing channels can you use to get to your ideal customers? What new skills are you willing to invest your time and money in to acquire?
- Deploying the right message. What you say needs to resonate with the very people you want to reach. Don’t be afraid to be personal.
- Asking for help from the right people. Based on the well-known saying, “Been there, done that”, be on the lookout for people who have accomplished what it is that you also want to achieve. Get a mentor. Ensure he also has the human qualities you respect and are inspired by.
Unfortunately, very few people are willing to execute on the above. The basics are perceived as boring, unrewarding maybe even too tangible. The unknown, the new promises are perceived to be more exciting and rewarding than the old.
However, there lies tremendous power in rediscovering the old and reshaping the very basics of what everything was once built on. As the world-renown French novelist, essayist and critic Marcel Proust once said:
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
Avoid suffering from the shiny object syndrome. Invest into a strong foundation to make your fortress invincible. Let the ordinary become extraordinary. “Wow” yourself.
I’ll leave you with the following words of wisdom attributed to Mahatma Gandhi:
“All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.”