The number of times I’ve gone bowling at an actual bowling alley could be counted on both hands. I went a couple of times when I lived in New Orleans (I grew up there until I moved away after going to LSU for college.) they had this great place called the Mid-City Lanes Rock-N-Bowl on the corner of Carrolton and Tulane. It was this great old bowling alley that was up these really steep stairs and it wasn’t just bowling. They had great Louisiana cuisine, (gumbo, crawfish etouffee, po-boys, etc.) and they had live local bands playing while you bowled. It was so much fun, having a beer, eating great food and bowling. Of course the bowling for me was secondary to the music, food and drink. I’ve never been an avid bowler, the game escapes me. I mean it seems so simple. You roll a medium size ball down an alley and try to hit the ten pins at the end of it and knock them over. Yet, to bowl, you really need to learn and practice this skill. And it’s one that I ‘d never quite figured out and just what it would mean to me many years later.
I also went bowling every so often at friends parties and an occasional birthday party for my son Harrison. Then we got the Wii and I got a kick out of the bowling game, it was so real, even though it was just a video game. I kicked butt on the video game.
Then it happened, a few weeks ago for my son’s 12th birthday we took him into New York City and went to Chelsea Bowling Alley on pier 60. It was such a cool place, with the lights, music, and food. Reminded me a bit of my days back in New Orleans, but this alley was way too new and the music and food were no way near New Orleans standards.
They made me bowl first, so talk about pressure… I thought, ok, this is going to be fine, I have all that practice from playing on the Wii, I’d be fine. Well the first bowl was a gutter ball, the next, more of the same, then everyone after me starting knocking down pins. I have to say I was getting a bit frustrated about my lack of “bowling” ability. We had 6 of us bowling… Then it hit me as I watched everyone else, it wasn’t about them. I shouldn’t care what they think or even how they bowl. And if I did, I’d have to use that emotion to fuel me to do better. By the way, I was in last place.
So it was then and there when it was my next turn, that I decided to try something new. I stood up and walked to the lane to pick up my ball and I simply visualized throwing a strike. I didn’t think too much though, no over analyzing, I just saw the strike, then I kept that vision when I let go of the ball and guess what? I had a strike! How cool was that?! I wish I could write that I used this strategy for the rest of the game and won. As it always happens in real life I got too distracted. The good news is that I did finish in 3rd place, which was much better than last!
The real lesson for me was what I discovered about bowling and how it’s helped me be a better entrepreneur… When you have your own business there are thousands of things that come at you and distract you from making money. The real core and crux of being successful is having that vision of what success is, and taking the key core actions to make it come to fruition. To create your success plan of goals for the year and ensure you take plenty of action to make them happen. So in order to be a success in business as entrepreneur you need a vision, a plan, and you need to take action and surround yourself with people who will help and support you to make it happen. Keep in mind the more focused you are, the clearer your vision, the better manager of time and being able to outsource what you’re not good at are great factors to help you be an incredibly successful entrepreneur. Just know there will probably be some gutter balls here and there and maybe even a spare or two. The real thrill comes from getting that first strike, so don’t forget to celebrate. Then get ready to do it all over again!