Friday, October 18, 2013

Celebrating Milestones is Critically Important. Here's Why:

I've been on Cloud 9 this week. The feeling started on Sunday when we threw a golf and tennis party in Los Angeles to celebrate TGA's 10-year birthday. In the time since, I've had one of the most productive work weeks I can remember. It reminded me how important it is to celebrate milestones - not only to recognize and motivate staff, increase morale, generate PR and so forth - but also to rejuvenate ourselves, the entrepreneurs and owners.

I generally have a hard time celebrating work-related things. It's one of my weaknesses as a manager. The reasons are partly my INTP personality and partly that my job is to think (and worry) about things 2-5 steps down the road so others don't have to.

But having around 150 TGA students, parents, partners and friends come out to celebrate our 10 year birthday on a warm Southern California afternoon when there were hundreds of other things to do reminded me how important these moments are. Yes, from a dollars and cents perspective, we hopefully gained and retained some customers. But we also charged nothing and covered all expenses, so who knows. The important thing is that we created a sense of community, a sense of family.

We had a student and his dad from one of our first six school programs in 2003 come out to celebrate with us. The kid who was half my size when I coached him through years worth of enrichment programs and camps was suddenly taller than me. Crazy. We didn't recruit him to the party, he just showed up to say thanks. He told us that TGA was his launching point for playing golf at one of the premier high schools in LA and how he's hoping to get a golf scholarship to an Ivy League school when he starts applying to college next year. That's priceless.

It's maybe ironic to mention the word "entrepreneur" and "10 year birthday" in the same sentence but it is very real for me and all of us at TGA. In my experience, entrepreneurship is much more a marathon than a race. Making it 10 years at TGA means nothing if we're not 10x what we are today at our 20 year birthday. And that's the beauty/frustration of it all - company-building takes time. A lot of time. We still feel and operate like entrepreneurs every day at TGA, 10 years in. And a lot of other entrepreneurs I know experience the same thing. So if you're thinking of venturing down this road, be prepared for the long haul.

I know that many readers of this blog are either already associated with TGA or are interested in becoming so, and I want to thank you for your valuable contributions to the way I've been feeling this week. I'd like to extend a special thank you to LeeAnn O'Donnell, TGA's Marketing Manager, and Nate Wright, TGA's National Program Director, for throwing an awesome birthday party last weekend. It invigorated the local TGA community and put me in a state of euphoria that has motivated me to have one of my best weeks on the job.

That is why celebrating milestones is so important for me, and you, the entrepreneurs.

I want to leave you with my favorite picture from our birthday party, and if you'd like to see others, I invite you to visit our TGA Premier Junior Golf and TGA Premier Youth Tennis Facebook pages.

Thanks again and Keep Swinging!

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