Recently, I had a meeting with a client to discuss their company’s progress over the last year. They’re a start-up company in the stages of trying to secure funding, but they aren’t having any luck. The founder is involved in several others businesses so he only dedicates a few hours each week to the start-up. I finally had to have a heart-to-heart discussion when he was frustrated that things hadn’t moved along faster.
What I told him was simple: He was playing defense in his business rather than offense. He was doing busy work waiting for something to happen, rather than taking initiative and creating his own momentum. I asked him what he’d done in his business in the last week that was proactive instead of waiting for people to get back to him. Waiting is defense — you have to create an offense in your business to get things moving. You won’t score without an offense.
Offensive moves are growing, marketing, hiring and trying new things, while defensive moves are waiting for people to call you instead of reaching out to them first, being reactive and playing it safe.
An offensive player in business works on tasks that get them closer to scoring, and delegates other tasks that get in the way of them reaching their goal. They ignore distractions and keep their eyes on the prize. A defensive player lacks momentum because they’re always reacting, which often leads to burnout.
Let’s talk about offense versus defense in your life.
Do you know friends who complain about being out of shape who do nothing to change it? They’re playing defense by complaining about the current state of their body instead of playing offense, which would require them to work out and stick to a meal plan.
Playing offense is about trying new things to see what works so that you have a chance to get what you really want in life. While failure is a real possibility, you at least know you’re trying and will probably get to your goal faster than you would if you were just waiting around, maintaining the status quo, resisting change, and keeping things the way they are.
Let’s talk about your clients for a minute. Do you play offense and get ahead of problems before they come up, or do you wait until your client complains and then scramble to come up wit ha solution? If you’re playing offense, then you’re in the driver’s seat of both your business and your life.
Here are some of my best tips for operating an offensive:
- Create a schedule and stick to it. There’s no better offense than a planned-out day. Make a list of all of the small things you need to do that day to get you closer to your goals and check them off. Proactively planning out what you need to do every day is playing offense.
- Disable social media, email and phone notifications while you’re working on your offense. Distractions will take you away from making the impact you want to make.
- Remember that playing offense doesn’t mean you’ll always score. You might not score all the time, but the small steps you take every day will get you closer to your end goal.
- Surround yourself with people who are also playing offense. You are who you surround yourself with, so surround yourself with people who are actively trying to make their lives better! If your circle isn’t pushing you to be your best, it’s time to get a new circle.
Of course, you have to find a balance in business and in life. Even though you may try to play offense every day, there will still be unforeseen things that happen that force you to play defense when they hit. The most important thing you can do is focus on what you can control. Start your day on an offensive note by working out, reading or listening to something positive. Make a list of the three big things you will accomplish that day and do them.
Remember, you will never score if you don’t set up an offense!