It’s a warm, quiet, tranquil afternoon. The stale air in the classroom is disturbed in my direction every thirty seconds. Around me sit twenty-eight junior high students, their brows, slightly sweaty, hair clinging to them, eyes constantly glazed over, and minds perpetually adrift with thoughts of summer. My eyelids are getting heavy; I'm fading. Then the stale breeze from the fan hits my face again. That oscillating fan is my lifeline.
This old brick junior high building is warm and humid inside. Each classroom feels more soupy than next. My teacher is droning on and on about something that could only be described as “sciencey”. The 13-year-old me tries to listen, I genuinely want to pay attention, but my brain has melted inside my head. I’m hoping that subconsciously I’ll retain whatever is important. Consciously, all I can think about is Mountain Dew Slurpees.
“Newtons first law…:”
Wait. Did he say something about Fig Newtons?!
“…states that an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. Furthermore, and object in motion will continue in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted on by an unbalanced force.”
I start thinking about Mountain Dew Slurpees again–oh, and ChocoTacos. It’s so damn hot.
“I want to make it clear, and I will ask you this on the test…”
Oh man. He said “test” I had better pay attention.
“…inertia and momentum are not the same thing. You’re going to have to describe that difference to me on the test.”
I won’t share with you if I got the answer right on the test (this was back in 1996, my 33-year-old brain can’t remember back that far), but what I will share is this: inertia is what I described above. Momentum, on the other hand, applies to an object already in motion. The heavier it is, and the faster it is moving the harder it will be to stop.
Both can be used to describe your business.
Whether your business is new and getting off the ground, or if it’s well established, the simple fact remains, an object at a standstill will be hard to move. You have to push, fight, and force yourself ahead. It takes a monumental effort to drive that business from an idea into a reality. There could be forces against you; people might not even believe in you, but if you keep pushing, and pushing with everything that you have, you’ll eventually build up that inertia and take that idea from a standstill to a functioning business with inertia.
Then as your company continues to grow, you should find that wins come a little easier, and new opportunities pop up a bit more often. Success will be harder to stop. You’ll have the positive momentum of your business to thank.
Consider the ramifications of not accurately positioning your brand or targeting the wrong market. Think about the above next time you decide to pull back on new business development. Imagine for a moment what happens if you are at risk of not exceeding client expectations. All lead to the same outcome; stagnant inertia and failed momentum.
If the day ever comes where you think to yourself "I'm too tired to push" or "there's no need to hustle today", you should think back to Newtons first law as I outline above. Always remember how hard it was to get your business moving in the right direction. Not only will it humble you, but it will serve as a good reminder to not take your foot off the gas and to always keep your business moving ahead. Should you fail to do so, it will take a lot of time and energy to build up that inertia and positive momentum again.
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