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Stay the Course

I sailed for the University of Michigan club sailing team. Finished 4th in the nation in the fall of 1986 in a windy National Sloop Regatta on Lake St. Clair outside of Detroit. Winds of 30 knots shifting and changing.

The Naval Academy won that event.

I wasn’t a very good captain. My specialty was boat speed. I knew how to sail fast. With every shift in the wind I would shift to maintain optimum boat speed, regardless of direction. That was our downfall.

The Naval Academy team focused on direction, adjusting the sails to meet the changes in the wind, but always keeping their eyes on the prize.

My boat was faster. They won the race.

Retail can be a lot like sailboat racing. If you go chasing every fad (every wind shift), you might be moving fast, but not necessarily towards your goal. You’ll feel the wind whipping in your face and everything will feel good. But the ultimate destination remains far away.

Understand that to reach your goal you will have to make adjustments, but don’t throw your whole strategy overboard on a whim. You might not be traveling as fast as someone else, but as long as you’re heading in the right direction, you will get there.

-Phil Wrzesinski

PS If you don’t have a direction, check out this free eBook on branding: Understanding Your Brand. Once you know your core values, just choose one of those values and be the leader in your industry in that value.

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