Isn't it funny where you can get business inspiration from?
Yesterday I was at a judo competition with my son Ben (that's him in the photo here) and at the end of the day I came home so inspired by the things that I saw and how they can be converted into a business scenario that I had to share the experience with you here today.
Ok, so let's set the scene - Ben and his mate Phil are competing in separate weight divisions.
While Phil is waiting to compete one of the co-ordinators comes up and explains that there are no juniors (they're actually called cadets) in his weight division, so would it be ok if he competed against a senior who is only a couple of years older than him, but is a similar weight.
I ask Phil if this will be ok - he says "Yes" - so the game is on!!!
Phil steps on to the mat and starts wrestling with the other guy trying to get him in a position to throw him when BAAM - the other guy shoots in and throws him with a fantastic move!!!
There's only one problem - Phil wasn't expecting the move and did not have enough time to roll correctly when thrown - and was face planted right into the mat!!!
The room goes quiet while Phil lays there looking like he has just been sent on a one way trip to La La Land - and then one of the most wonderful things I have ever seen happened.
Before anyone else moves, the young bloke who threw him is down on the ground beside him really upset about what has just happened.
Now, you have to understand the whole situation here - the move that this guy pulled on young Phil was completely legal and was a really good throw, but all this kid was interested in was the wellbeing of his opponent and it warmed the cockles of my heart to see such real concern by such a young guy.
It gets better - most kids Phil's age would have said "That's me finished for the day" but not Phil - he gets up and is checked to make sure he is ok and then says that he wants to continue the competition.
He finishes this bout and when he comes off the mat he makes mention to me that he has worked out how to beat the other bloke and can't wait to get back on the mat for the second bout with him.
I'm just standing there shaking my head - guys twice (three times?) Phil's age would have called it a day after what just happened, but not this kid - not only does he want to get back on the mat with his opponent but he is now working out a way to beat him!!!
In the second bout Phil tries his heart out to pin this guy by getting him down on the mat (which he had decided was the best way to beat this guy) but the guy is simply too strong and wins the second bout as well.
Here's where the truly inspiring "stuff" begins - at the end of the competition the co-ordinators decide to give both Phil AND his opponent first place medals because of the courage and integrity of both kids.
And it was here that I got a lump in my throat - the young bloke who won the division actually wanted to give his medal back saying that he was a senior so Phil was the true winner and when the co-ordinators said that he could keep his medal he took a step back behind Phil - pointed to him in front of everyone - and started clapping him for his efforts!!!
As he walked past me I said to him "You are a credit to yourself, your club and your family mate - well done" and he bowed to me and said "thank you" and walked off.
Now it's my bloke's turn!!!
Ben had been up against his opponent about 6 months before and had accounted for him in no uncertain terms quite quickly the last time they had met - but to say that this kid had had a growth spurt is understatement!!!
I make mention of this to Ben who was not too concerned - until the bout started - where he found out that this guys was going to be a lot harder to move than the last time they had fought!!!
The fight went for over 4 minutes and Ben eventually got the better of the guy in the end but when he came off the mat to say he was distressed is an understatement.
He walked up to me and said "I don't think I can go back on Dad - I can hardly breathe".
He sits down and I get him to start taking some deep breathes and start encouraging him to settle himself down.
Slowly he settles down - he has a few sips of water and puts the cold water bottle to his forehead and the back of his neck to cool himself down and a minute or so later he begins to settle.
Once he has settled down he starts commenting on how much stronger the other guy has got since the last time they met, so while we are waiting for the second bout we start talking about strategies Ben can use to beat him taking into account his extra strength.
I say to Ben "Have a look at him over there mate - he still looks quite distressed after the last bout and he is not drinking much water - do you think he will be as refreshed as you when he gets back on the mat?"
Ben looks over at him for a minute and then says "Na!!!"
I then said to Ben - "Why don't you just keep focussing on your breathing - settle yourself down further - get plenty of fluid into you - and when you go out there the next time you should have a heap more energy than him don't you think?".
Ben nods - sits back - takes some really deep breathes - has a few more sips of water - focusses himself - walks out on the mat and pins the other bloke in about 20 seconds!!!
"What has this got to do with business?" I hear you say.
Have a think about the two examples above in the context of running a successful business -
All these words played a huge part in both player's efforts yesterday - shouldn't they be an integral part of our business strategies?
Well done guys - it was a honour to be a part of yesterday's proceedings and I am so proud of you both.