One of the most exciting competitions in my world is due to be decided in two days time. It’s called the Vendee Globe. Known as the Everest of sailing, it’s a single handed round the world race. It’s taken 71 days so far. The winner should close it out in just 73 days. For sailing 25,000 miles or so through the worlds most inhospitable places, thats just crazy crazy fast.
So, here’s the thing.
First place and second place as it currently stands. Separated by just 72 miles.
Thats nothing. Literally nothing. At the speeds they are going, maybe 4 hours difference.
After 73 days and they are 4 hours apart.
The spoils all go to the winner in our world. People seldom remember who came second.
When you realise the differences between success and failure are so tiny, doesn’t that give you the motivation to pull out the extra stops and push that bit harder?
I remember when racing around the world in the BT Challenge in 2000-01, one of our specialities was beating other boats in the final straits. Sailing into Buenos Aires and beating BP by 5 minutes after 6,000 miles at seas. Same story in Cape Town. Once more coming into La Rochelle beating Veritas by 10 seconds after 40 days of racing back up the Atlantic.
It was in those moments, when the team dug deep and found that extra bit of juice to push harder than the next person.
Right now, I’m rooting for our Brit in the race, Alex Thompson and hoping that he can find a way to pull something out to get past Armel Le’Cleach, the Frenchman currently in first place.
In a business context I always had the same approach. I remember in the early days of my last business Trovus. It was the morning of Christmas Eve. Just about everyone else had turned to festivities. My business partner and I kept pushing right up to the line working on deals. Just before lunch we closed that a deal that over the following years would be worth over £200,000 for us. There is always something to be done right up to the line - always opportunities if you are looking for them.
You never know whats going to happen and you give everything you’ve got until it’s all over. In your work, in your business, are you giving it everything? The world loves a hero - what else can you do to make things happen?