I love sports analogies because they seem to apply to many professional situations that those not having been in the situation can understand.
The other night, as I watched the Niwot Cougars win their first men’s soccer state championship in 37 years, two things struck me as the players celebrated on the field in front of the students and their parents.
The first, for the senior player, winning the championship represented the culmination of several hard years of work, from youth soccer through club soccer and to high school. Having lost in last year’s final only to claim the title this year represented icing on the cake. For many seniors this was their last soccer game, but teamwork and commitment allowed them to achieve success. They can hold their head high and walk away from the sport with a championship.
The second, for the returning players, winning the championship represents a success along the way. Not only have they experienced reaching the top, but they will soon realize that expectations have reset and their return trip to the top will require even more work than winning the first one. It is always more difficult to repeat.
In business we all understand the value of teamwork and commitment on success. But one of the most difficult things to do is repeat success. Every day we see a company file for bankruptcy that was unable to capitalize on an early success. A great idea, a sure thing, up in smoke. Then there are others, like Apple, that understands what it takes to repeat success. Amazed by how they can continue to innovate. Perhaps the early lessons learned by these athletes will carry over with them as they begin to develop their careers.