I’m getting really uncomfortable…

“Sometimes you’re flush and sometimes you’re bust, and when you’re up, it’s never as good as it seems, and when you’re down, you never think you’ll be up again, but life goes on.” — George Jung, Blow (2001)

If you’ve ever played competitive sports, you’ve undoubtedly been down at some point. Things aren’t going to plan. You’re losing and time is running out. Despite the odds, you somehow find it in yourself not to quit. You keep calm. You focus. You tirelessly continue to fight for every inch. You ̶w̶o̶n̶t̶ can’t be stopped. Then, finally, after a tremendous amount of pain and persistence, things shift, and you start to win.

People love to use this sports metaphor in startups and business. It’s the underdog story, and, cliche as it is, America loves an underdog and so do I.

But like that oh-so-true George Jung quote, when things are going well it’s easy to let up. It’s easy to start to get comfortable. In the case of the underdog story there is always a really good team who ends up losing to another that wants it more badly. That team has no idea that they are going to lose the game when the clock runs out.

I love Dave Wottle (above). His performance in the 1972 Olympics is one of the coolest races I’ve ever watched. As he slugged along, the commentators aren’t sure what to expect from Wottle. They even wonder if he’s injured. But then something happened. Wottle got uncomfortable, and he started fighting, and he started cranking it up. While the Kenyans held first and second place for the entire race, it was Dave Wottle who would ultimately end up winning the race.

Side note: no one remembers anyone else from the men’s 1972 800m race except Dave Wottle.

The teams who win stay uncomfortable. They are relentless and they are out to prove something (See also: Revenge Tour 2016). Great athletes don’t have a good season and then retire. They want to win championships, many of them. They want to be the best they can possibly be, and to do that they never allow themselves to get comfortable. They despise the status quo. They keep training, they keep pushing themselves, even when they are up… especially when they are up. That is where momentum builds. When asked about which ring was his favorite, Tom Brady quickly responded, “The next one.” That is the mentality of a fierce competitor and a winner…

As we work hard to build a great company here at Grapevine, we are going to remain uncomfortable and unsatisfied, and I hope you will too.

If you’re looking to push yourself and join a high performance team, drop me a line and come join our revenge tour: founders@grapevinelogic.com.

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