As the tortoise taught the hare, activity beats inactivity every time

Recently I was coaching a U11 boys soccer team, and after practice I had a great conversation with another coach that reminded me of the Aesop’s Fable: The Tortoise and the Hare. There are a lot of life lessons to be gleaned from that fable, but one that I am reminded of is that consistent activity beats inactivity every time.


soccer ballRecently I was coaching a U11 boys soccer team, the Smith Mountain Lake Soccer Club, and after practice I had a great conversation with another coach that reminded me of the Aesop’s Fable: The Tortoise and the Hare. There are a lot of life lessons to be gleaned from that fable, but one that I am reminded of is that consistent activity beats inactivity every time.

The coach told me a story about a young man he once knew when coaching high school soccer. Let’s call him Darryl. Everywhere Darryl went, he carried a heavy canvas sack slung over his shoulder. Whether it was running to catch the bus, or walking down the hallway, you guessed it, there was that old canvas sack glued to his shoulder. Of course among his fellow students he was the object of speculation, curiosity, and occasional ribbing. “Why does Darryl carry that sack everywhere, and more importantly, what in the world does he keep in it?” they would ponder. Turns out the sack contained about 45 lbs of free weights. 

You see Darryl wanted to be a better soccer player, and he figured if he was carrying around 45 more pounds with him, he would be a better and stronger player on the soccer field. Is this recommended by FIFA or any sports association out there? Not that I am aware of! But I asked the coach, “I’ve got to know, did he become a better soccer player?” The coach without hesitation told me that Darryl improved significantly in strength and cardio and never ever would he be knocked down by another player trying to “win” the ball! Obviously this young man still had a lot to learn: ball control, tactical awareness, heading, etc. But improved strength and cardiovascular conditioning certainly are an important foundation for a player.

Darryl may not have had the best program for developing his soccer skills, but he did do something and he repeated that something a lot. It became a habit in his life. And as the tortoise taught us, doing specific activity in a direction, and repeating it, can win the race.

How can we apply this to business networking? Since networking is about developing relationships, what if we made a commitment to have lunch or coffee with someone two to three days a week (every week) with the purpose of developing business relationships? Even without having a strategy or a specific purpose, wouldn’t just taking the time to meet regularly with other people during our business day make us better and stronger as networkers? Wouldn’t those relationships then give us a foundation for developing more business by referral and helping others too, when a referral marketing strategy is developed? It is as simple as pulling out our calendars, right now, and writing “networking lunch” for 2 to 3 days of the week, assigning a name to that meeting, and inviting.

Great! Done! Now repeat weekly! And it sure beats carrying around a sack of weights!

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