Sports and Money
It is often said that offense wins games, but defense wins championships. The reasoning behind this is offense can be more inconsistent at times than defense. Great hitters go into slumps, great shooters do too, great quarterbacks can be shaken by a solid pass rush. In life, offense tends to come in spurts. Most of us can admit this. We close one great deal, which leads to several more. We do a great job which leads to a string of referrals and more deals closed. We are looking good, feeling good, and performing well. We get in the zone. When offense is working well, its exciting, exhilarating, fun to watch and fun to be a part of. Most of life’s highlight reel is offensive success. By nature offense builds upon offense. Offense is very momentum oriented.
Which also makes it very inconsistent.
Momentum can be lost much easier than it was gained. Great hitters get over-confident and start swinging at bad pitches, great shooters lose discipline and start forcing poor shots, great quarterbacks force throws they shouldn’t make that lead to interceptions. The same players that swung or shot you into the game can swing or shoot you right out. Success in business can make us cocky or overconfident. We rub people the wrong way. We take personal relationships for granted. We stop nurturing the connections that made us successful in the first place. We overreach, overextend. The next thing we know, the referrals have slowed down. Those big contracts aren’t being signed. That vendor went elsewhere to someone who made them feel more special. Like a giant wave pushing us to great heights, it suddenly crashes, leaving us tossed and turned in the undertow trying to catch our breath and pulling seaweed out of our ears. And so it goes until we regroup and start building up that momentum again.
Offense by nature works this way, but defense, that’s a bit different. Great defensive performances tend to depend upon heart, focus, preparation, and discipline. Strong defensive teams don’t tend to have a lot of inconsistency in their performance. Defense is “there every night”. It depends largely on factors we have more control over-preparing for what the opponent wants to do, sticking to the game plan even when it’s hard, giving our all every play, remaining consistent in the plan. These same principles apply to financial defense as well. We have to form a budget like we form a game plan and stick to it. Saving one month was useless if we splurge the next. Maintaining that focus, that eye on the prize, that is what enables us to continue saving even when it is hard. The truth is, we can score all the points in the world, if we can’t stop the other team from scoring it doesn’t matter. In the same way we can make all the money in the world, if we can’t stop from spending it, it doesn’t matter. Who wants to be the basketball player who scored 100 points in a game in a losing effort? Who wants to be the guy who made millions of dollars only to end up broke? Mike Tyson, MC Hammer, Allen Iverson these guys are known for having what we all dream of and blowing it. How? No defense. They couldn’t hold on to what they made. Great offense is great. Consistent defense is better.
When it comes to our finances, it is pointless to worry about how to make more money if you haven’t already conquered your inability to budget and stick with that budget. Great teams start by working on a great defense and improving their offense later. A solid financial strategy needs to work the same way. You’d be amazed what a strong financial defense can help you accomplish after a few years of sticking to a reasonable budget. Tackle the hard stuff first. Conquer yourself and your desires for immediate gratification through spending money on things you don’t need. Learn to set a budget and live by it. Learn to be content with less, and watch how many doors leading to new opportunities open wider than you ever expected. Plug the holes in your bucket before you worry about adding more water. The end result will be better than anything you thought was possible if you conquer yourself first, the world will follow.