Want to succeed in business? Catch a bat!
By Bob | August 11, 2010
Yes, I mean that kind of bat....the nocturnal terror that flits about mocking us as we stumble in the dark. If you are an entrepreneur and you want to succeed in business, you have to be able to catch a bat. Or at least possess several of the skills necessary to do so.
In the course of the past week, I have caught two bats in my house. This simultaneously delighted my children and terrified my wife. The process of catching them is much like being an entrepreneur seeking to grow your business. Here's what it looks like:
1) Nerves of steel. Let's face it bat catching, like being an entrepreneur, isn't for everyone. To do it successfully you have to be okay with an uncertain outcome and a constantly changing path to that outcome.
2) Control what you can. To catch a bat in your house successfully, start by making it a little bit easier for yourself: turn on all of the lights. In business, the successful entrepreneur does what they can to change the playing field to their benefit. Look at solving a newly emerging problem. Solve an existing problem in a better way. Constantly improve your skill set so that you gain or maintain a competitive edge.
3) Patience. Bats are faster than you. Deal with it. You aren't going to catch one on the first try. Very few (if any) entrepreneurs experience their desired level of success in their expected timeframe. That's okay. Keep adjusting and attempting and eventually, like catching a bat, you'll get it.
4) Don't be afraid to move. Don't confuse patience with stalling or laziness. When the time arrives, you have to move quickly. And remember what Coach John Wooden once said, "When opportunity arrives, it's too late to prepare."
5) Success doesn't always look like you thought it would. Have you ever held a bat? It's a delicate, ugly creature that shrieks at you when it's mad/scared. That sound is the sound of victory. Not what I expected. Businesses have to change. And when they do, so does the picture of success.
6) At some point, you have to let go. You can't hold the bat all night. In business, you have to be willing to move on, to change, to grow. The market is constantly changing. Needs and wants are shifting. You have to be willing to let go of what worked yesterday to discover what will work tomorrow.
I hope that you won't need to catch a bat in your house. But I also hope that the application of bat-catching to business helps you to gain a new perspective on what you need to do succeed in business. No bats were injured during the research for this post.
Addendum for the curious:
1) Use a bath towel to swat at the bat. It's large enough to challenge their radar system and won't injure them when you hit them.
2) Wait for them to either land or settle into a predictable flight pattern.
3) Use the towel to pick up the bat. Many of them carry rabies and they might bite you.
4) DO NOT tease your terrified spouse with the captured bat.