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Balls Out

February 7, 2014

Photo courtesy of Nelson Pavlosky

My grandfather was a railroad engineer. He started his career as a “fireman”, shoveling coal in steam trains.

The railroads have a rule that you need to be able to stop your train in half the distance that you’re able to see. In other words, if you can see a mile ahead, you need to be able to stop your train in half a mile.

Why? Because if there is a second train on the same track that you’re on, but coming in the opposite direction, “half the distance that you’re able to see” will make sure there isn’t a head-on collision when both trains put on the brakes.

Don’t Go Too Fast

There was a safety mechanism to keep steam trains from going too fast. It was a mechanical governor that consisted of two opposing balls and regulated the steam via centrifugal force of a flywheel. When the balls topped out, that was as fast as the engine could run.

But what happened when you wanted to go faster?

The only way was “balls out.”

How to Go Balls Out – 3 Questions to Ask Yourself

As you build your business, like a governor controlling the speed of a steam engine, a lot of things will stand in your way and keep you from going as fast as you could otherwise. If you’re on a “railroad track” where something could be coming the other way, governors are good, but more often than not, governors are holding you back unnecessarily.

How can you tell the difference when something limits the speed in which you’re moving forward? Ask yourself the following three questions:

“Is this a speed bump, designed for other people, but not for me?”

“Am I going to let the actions of a few people stop me?”

“Given the situation, what am I going to do next?”

Then move ahead, whatever that means to you. You don’t always have to take off the governors, but you’ll at least be able to call them for what they are and have the option of dealing with them when you’re ready to do so rather than assume your limited speed is out of your control.

It doesn’t matter what you, understand that rules meant for other people don’t have to apply to you.

ABOUT THIS SERIES: Every Friday, I give tips on how to build the foundation needed to have a successful business and platformSee other posts in this series here and, if you have a request for me to cover something specific, let me know via Twitter.

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