Upon doing something really extraordinary such as playing a championship game and coming up short, people often say, "I am just glad to compete," or "I'm so glad to be here." Until this week, I never understood that. Being the uber competitive and ambitious person I am, I could not understand how "just being there" was satisfying or fulfilling.
This week, my tiny company went to meet with a global multi-billion dollar corporation about partnering on a project. The meeting was the culmination of a few years of networking and building our reputation and was by no means a coincidence or luck. It was the result of a series of intentional actions and it felt amazing to be there.
In the arena. Playing with the big dogs. And it was during my quick, less than 24 hour trip to the headquarters of one of the most powerful companies on the planet that I finally understood the old, "I'm just glad to compete" saying.
There is a feeling of satisfaction being at the table sharing ideas with the best. There is a sense of accomplishment "just being there." Now, make no mistake. I want the business and intend to do everything in my power to secure it. But taking a moment to stop and reflect on being in the arena is important.
The tiny "win" of being at the table for this enormous opportunity can challenge me in my thinking about this and other opportunities. Positive momentum of any kind can be converted into fuel. Parallel to that is the relationship building aspect of the meeting that is priceless.
For the first time in a very long time, I went into the arena without regard for the outcome but more open to what the arena experience was going to bring me. To have a company my size entertaining a partnership with one of the world's largest entities is beyond exciting. It is downright humbling and breath-taking. I want to soak it all up and not miss any lesson from the experience. And I need to do that before I shift my energy into moving this beast from a prospect to a partner.
Stop and give yourself credit for being in the arena. Absorb all the good you can from small wins in the journey. Marry yourself to the experience more than the result.
It makes the arena experience all the more rich when you give yourself space to learn from and enjoy it.