Why Running a Business is Actually like Potty Training a Belligerent Toddler

January 22, 2021

Parents know the drill. You have a toddler wearing diapers who thinks using the potty is a waste of their time. They have things to do. Toys to play with. Noses to pick.

But that isn’t going to fly in this house. In this house, we use the potty like a big boy/girl.

The standoff begins. Cue the spaghetti western in your living room. You squint in the glaring sunlight at your pride and joy. They narrow their gaze right back at you. A dried-out wipe rolls by on the wind collecting dust as it goes.

You need that child to do this particular thing, but at first, it is often a fight. The breakthrough happens. They make it to the potty for the first time and bask in the glory the whole family bestows upon them. You did it!

But – tomorrow doesn’t go so great. You wonder if you are going to have a 14-year-old in pull-ups.

We all know that isn’t going to happen, though. That hope of the goal drives us on. The freedom of the outcome sparks our determination. The reward of teaching this skill and watching the accomplishment settle into the household makes it all worth it.

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Business is just like this.

Perseverance is critical, and often the market feels like a petulant toddler. You set goals and start the standoff. You make headway, but tomorrow brings an unexpected hiccough in the process.

You can’t give up. You have to see the end goal out there in the future and try again. Fail early and fail often is terrible advice. Don’t plan to fail. But, and this is the key, you will make mistakes. We all will fail at something along the way.

Keep your eyes on those goals. Don’t give up. You learn to keep staring the goal in the face and try again until it works.

In potty training and business, you will face setbacks and the unexpected. The measure of effective parenting isn’t whether you get the child on board in a single day. It is how you guide your child to the goal and persevere. The measure of building a lasting, lifetime business is just the same. If at first, you don’t succeed, try again. And if you fail well, you will gain the tools you need to reach those goals – and all the experience to grow more along the way!