Go Slow for Speed


Go slow for speed. No, this blog post is not a Zen paradox. This was the advice given to me from ultra-endurance athlete (and motivational speaker/writer/coach) Terri Schneider at an open water swim clinic years ago as I prepared for a triathlon in Santa Cruz, CA.

The advice was intended to remind novice ocean swimmers like myself not to panic as hundreds of other swimmers elbow, kick and and fight for position at the start of the race. And not to panic if a little fear sets in when you are a half mile or more from the shoreline in a choppy, windy ocean.

Because panic and fear can lead to swimming harder which can lead to more panic and fear and even harder swimming. And that's not good.

Go slow for speed means stay calm and be steady - rhythmic and coordinated strokes and consistent deep breaths. no matter what. Ahhhh. In a long triathlon swim, this strategy can be quite effective and you'll be surprised at how many swimmers you pass (the ones who swam over top of you at the start) along your journey.

I was fearfully reminded of this advice while Kayaking with my seven year old off the coast of Connecticut this summer. About a mile from the coast the wind picked up and we were faced with 15+ knot headwinds. The occasional white cap crashing over our bow and soaking us was the least of our concerns - getting back to shore was as it seemed we were making no headway against the wind. So I paddled harder.

And I started to get tired.

Then the bad stuff started creeping into my mind (what if I can't make it?).

Go Slow for Speed.

I quickly regained my composure and just focused on the task at hand - steady paddling and tuning out the other junk. A little under an hour later, we arrive shore. Tired but safe.

So how does all of this relate to marketing?

It's been a tough few years for most companies as they battle the recession and the related uncertainty and volatility. A lesson I have learned is to stay focused and plow forward. Don't stop.

Intel chairman Craig Barrett said you can't save your way out of a recession. A former boss of mine would tell me not to be complacent and to just do something even if it was wrong :-)

True, businesses must be prudent and shouldn't recklessly spend money in uncertain times. But nor should they panic and overreact and stop doing much of anything - like innovate, invest, develop people, and market.

Stay the course.

Go Slow for Speed. Right Aesop?

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