By Jim Kahrs
Being somewhat of a history buff and a very proud American has led me to read a number of books on the American Revolution. As we approach July 4th, our Independence Day, I find myself reflecting on what it took to win our beloved freedom. In doing this I am struck by the similarity to business freedom that many seek.
On July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from England and establish the United States of America. Too many Americans don't realize that this declaration came at the very early stages of the war to win independence. Had George Washington and the revolutionary troops not won the war we would not be the country we are today. The victory and surrender by England did not occur until 1781, six years after independence was declared.
I've seen many a business owner declare a goal to grow the business or increase profits or achieve other goals. However, too often they fail to wage the "war" necessary to ensure the goals are met. A simple declaration by itself only signifies the decision and the goal. Moving forward requires a plan.
During the Revolutionary War American troops were outnumbered and out-manned by better-trained English troops as well as hired Hessian troops. There were many struggles and lost battles along the way. A large part of the American Army was nearly lost in the battle of Long Island in 1776. They managed to slip out under the cover of fog just before the British troops arrived at their camps. There were also victories that kept hopes alive. One such victory came on Christmas Day 1776 when General Washington led troops across a partially frozen Delaware River to attack British forces in Trenton, NJ. I can only imagine how cold it must have been and how badly the troops missed their families during the Christmas Holiday.
Success in business often follows a similar pattern. You will have lost battles; a deal that went to the competition, an employee that didn't work out, etc. Reaching the goals you've declared requires one to push through the losses to the next battle. The best leaders figure out why they lost and adjust. Achieving this skill is critical to success.
So as we celebrate America's independence I challenge you to first realize what it took for us to be where we are today. We truly live in the best country in the world. Too many people take it for granted and don't really understand the commitment and sacrifice it took to win the independence we all enjoy today.
I also challenge you to consider what it will take for you to achieve your goals. We can learn a lot from those that came before us. When you feel like you're enduring more than you should, imagine spending the winter with tents for shelter, rags for clothing and very little food. I find this tends to put things into perspective. So, push through the adversity and achieve your goals.
THANK YOU to those that fought to win our independence and those that have sacrificed and fought over the years to make sure we keep it.
Happy Independence Day!