Winning is Earned, Not Given

by Arnie Malham | October 12, 2017

Malham Family with Trophy

FOR YEARS, I’ve employed a bit of self-deprecating humor by saying, “no team I’ve ever cheered for has won a championship.” Many have come close, including the NFL Tennessee Titans in 1999 and the NHL Nashville Predators just this year (2017).

However, this summer, my daughter’s travel soccer team from Tennessee, competing at the highest possible level (U18 US Youth Soccer), had a storybook year going 24-1 and winning their State, Regional, and finally the National Championship in Frisco, TX on July 30th. Proudly, my daughter, the team’s goal keeper, was named the Golden Gloves Award Winner for her outstanding play in goal throughout the tournament.

Why am I telling you this? And what does this have to do with lawyer advertising? Other than boasting of my daughter’s outstanding achievement, I do actually have a point.

One way to look at it is that my daughter and her teammates spent one week in Texas, playing 5 games in 7 days to win the Championship. Another way to look at is that my daughter and her teammates spent about 10 years working toward this incredible achievement. The fact is, these girls have been working on their game since they were 8 years old.

Over this time period, they have endured countless hours of practice, made many hard choices about how they spend their time, have navigated remarkable and not so remarkable coaching, and have worked through injuries and setbacks that would send many packing. Many girls start playing soccer when they are young. Few, very few…win a National Championship and then go on to play Division I college soccer as most of these girls will. It’s literally 1 in 1000!

Think of your practice the same way. Of the many, many lawyers, thousands will work in or at least dabble in personal injury. A great many will try their hand at advertising, but very few will build a sustainable brand and practice. Literally, there are only 3-5 practices in any given market that will achieve sustainable marketing and operational success over the long haul.

None get there quickly, by accident, or without countless hours of work. But rather they’re making many hard decisions about their business, navigating through great and not so great consultants, and working through business setbacks that can quickly close a firm. A great many lawyers want to be a known personal injury brand.Few, very few, ever become a sustainable top 5 brand in their market. Literally it’s 1 in 1000.

The point is, be it in sports or business, extreme success doesn’t happen overnight. Success at the highest levels is most always a combination of time spent, decisions made, and advice taken (or not taken). It’s about focus, process, and sustainability, not one-hit wonders, holy grails, and lottery ticket cases. As in sports, business, and life….those who learn how to work, outperform those who don’t.

Sydney Golden GlovesSydney Malham (#44) is now working toward soccer success at the Division I collegiate level as a Goal Keeper for the Ohio University Bobcats, where she’ll be earning her degree in Mechanical Engineering. Who knows if her new team will achieve greatness or even win a MAC Conference Championship during her 4 years of eligibility. But she, I, and you know that winning is earned, not given.

Keep Rocking Forward!!!!