Last weekend I was at a swim meet with my daughter. Just before her first event she said, “Dad, I’m nervous, I have butterflies in my stomach.”  To put this in perspective, she has been swimming competitively for the last six years, and that would amount to several hundred events over that time period, so jumping in the pool for a race is second nature to her.  This weekend was a bit different though, she was swimming for her Junior Olympic (J.O.) times in two particular events.  She and I always talk about the motto “Go Big or Go Home”, and this was her time to lay it all on the line.

This conversation with her led me to a business conversation I once had with myself.  How often do I, or do we, as business owners and leaders, lay it all on the line to the point we have butterflies in our stomachs? I am sure for many business owners that the day they made the choice to leave employment and venture out on their own was one of those days – or years, in most cases.  But think to something more recently. Maybe you delivered a proposal to new customer that was the biggest proposal you ever presented.  Maybe you hired a new key employee that could help your business make significant strides.  Or maybe you expanded your line of business to an offering that was new.  Any of those examples could be exciting, rewarding and risky all at the same time.  But if you don’t step out, make the move, and feel the butterflies in your stomach, you won’t know if it is possible to achieve your goals and aspirations.  The easy choice is to not expand your business, not hire the key employee, and not pursue that large customer.  The more difficult choice, and the one that puts the butterflies in your stomach, is the one to pursue the bigger goals and aspirations.

In swimming, as in life, there is no guarantee that if you “Go Big” you will achieve your goal.  And, in life, as in swimming, if you don’t “Go Big”, you will never know what it will feel like to achieve your goal.  So which choice are you going to make?