Five years ago, when I coached the Central High School cross country team, I used this mantra/chant, “Run Hard, Finish Strong, No Fear.” We did a give out/give back cheer at the beginning of each practice and before every race. I would say “run” and the team would yell “hard.” I would say “finish”, they would yell “strong.” I would finally say “no”, and they would yell “fear.”
RUN – HARD
FINISH – STRONG
NO – FEAR
It worked well to get the team focused for the day and for the race at hand. We went undefeated in the regular season. The team won the league championship. We only missed winning the city championship by 3 points, a score so close that for a few agonizing minutes White Station thought they had lost to us.
I believe this is a good mantra for entrepreneurs and business owners, too, especially the third part, “no fear.” Let me explain.
Run Hard. Okay, maybe it should be “work hard”, but leading a business always feels like you are running, so either works. Work hard on the important parts of the business that are important. New initiatives that create growth, customer and new product development, building on the strengths of the organization are important. Make sure everyone else is working on those important things, too.
Finish Strong. Every initiative, project, and effort gets bogged down at some point or other. You’ve got to bring them home strong. Finish them up, and pull them together so they will make a difference, motivate others, and move the company forward.
No Fear. This is the tough one. Fear can be paralyzing. We all have fears and entrepreneurs/owners usually feel the pressure of them very strongly. Face the fears first. Then determine how you would proceed if you had no fears. Proceed in that manner to overcome those fears.
More and more I find myself using the “No Fear” mantra with my business clients. It gives them strength to power through their fears.
Back in the day, I would also say “beat” and the team would yell “White Station.” I wonder if Fred Smith, Chairman of FedEx, says “beat” and his CEOs yell “UPS” or “Brown” back?