I’m sure you all remember the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare is much faster than the tortoise and he gets off to a much faster start in their race, but he fritters away his lead and takes naps and actually finishes behind the tortoise, who continues on a steady pace from the beginning to the end. When I was younger, I thought the moral of this story was that we should all be hares but not fritter away the lead, in other words, make the most of our talents. But now I think about it differently. Rarely can we be the hare – the fastest, the smartest, the very best at anything. But we can be the tortoise – we can proceed methodically, diligently, and persistently.
I’ve found in my personal life I can apply this. For example, I read just a few pages of a book every night before I go to bed. It takes me a long time to finish a book, but over a period of time I do finish lots of books. And I think I by reading in small chunks I absorb more of the book. I read a biography of George Washington (by Ron Chernow, who wrote Hamilton, I recommend it) and I felt I was living with George each day! I also do my exercises every day (before Covid I would go to the gym every day, but now I work out at home) so over a long period of time you can you can get into good shape. I play the piano. I’m not a virtuoso but I try to practice every day so little by little I’ll learn a new song and another new song and then another new song it just incrementally adds up over time if you’re persistent.
The same applies to business. I remember years ago when I worked at McCormick being told about one sales Rep that was always trying to hit the home run. Well that’s great if you can hit the home run, but more often than not it results in a strikeout. Don’t get me started on the Orioles’ Chris Davis, always swinging for a home run, but usually striking out. What’s often more valuable is simply hitting single after single after single. Just be persistent and keep it up for a long period of time. If you’re like Pete Rose you’ll end up with over 4,000 hits.
At Rare Patient Voice our business is like hitting a lot of singles, both in building up our panels and in gaining clients. We’ll recruit patients one by one in event by event. And we find new clients one by one at conferences, by word of mouth, and through Linked In. Our average project size is only about $3000. But it adds up. We do over 100 projects a month.
So, let’s hear it for the tortoise and his persistence. As Aesop said, slow and steady wins the race.