QBQ! Keeping "Big Mo" Alive
Keeping "Big Mo" Alive

Note: This QBQ! QuickNote is one that should be read over and over—and kept handy. Remember, "Repetition is the motor of learning!"

The man who hired me into the training industry in 1986, my mentor and friend, Jim Strutton, taught me important stuff like how to prospect for new clients, close sales, facilitate training, and tell stories. He knows this.

What he might not remember is he also taught me how to watch basketball. Growing up a wrestler, I never learned to appreciate the sport. One day, years ago (probably while on a sales call together—he was an outstanding coach), Jim said, “When you watch a basketball game, you want to watch for momentum. The fun in the sport is the shifting of momentum.”

And I never watched a game of hoops the same again. No longer did I only look for the passes, dunks, and scores. For me, it became more about momentum.

Personally, I believe momentum is the kind of phenomenon that’s hard to describe and define. It’s one of those “I know it when I see it” things.
I also believe momentum is critical to everything we do, from getting in shape to completing work projects on time to making more sales. Very little is not affected by momentum—or the lack of it. So though it’s difficult to explain momentum—"Big Mo"it's certainly worthwhile identifying what can kill it.

Early in 2013, let’s have a look at … Momentum Killers.


As we write in QBQ!, procrastination is the “friend of failure.” It crushes our momentum. People suffering from it tend to ask Incorrect Questions (IQs) such as, “When will others take care of this?” and “When will I have all the information I need?” But those with momentum ask The Question Behind the Question (QBQ): “What can I do today to be productive?” In his book,
21 Questions for 21 Millionaires: How Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Success, author Brandon Pipkin discovers most highly successful people didn’t really have a grand plan when they started out—but they sure got stuff done. The message? Do something!!!

Not doing something right the first time

This might sound obvious, but having to redo anything is a pain. Each of us has finite energy and time. Let’s not waste these resources doing something wrong just so we can figure out later how to do it right. Let’s ask these QBQs: “How can I learn new ways of doing things?” and “What can I do to be my best?” Said, differently, be outstanding in all things—or at least as often as possible. Remember the rule of a wise carpenter: Measure twice, cut once.

Letting frustration overwhelm us

Years ago when the Internet was not ubiquitous, I did something novel: I bought nine movie tickets in advance online, paying one dollar per ticket more for the service. Quite a step for this frugal fella. We then got into the family van and started driving 15 miles west to a Denver suburban theater. We never made it on that December evening. Traffic was horrible. I tried side streets, main highways, two lane country roads—but Christmas shoppers were out in full force! Why can’t people drive? So frustrating! I surely had a goal of entertaining the family and not wasting $80, but 45 minutes into a 25 minute drive, I threw up my hands in borderline anger and over the objections of people close enough to strangle me, I turned the van around and we came home—to do nothing. I was not the favorite father that night. I had let frustration overwhelm me. Where did that frustration come from? From the source of all frustration: blocked goals. As we say in our training program, “stress is a choice.” Goals might get blocked and frustration might reign, but if I had managed my stress better and not quit, things would’ve probably worked out just fine.

Avoiding pain

We should never forget this truth: Inherent in the growth process is failure. Nobody succeeds in a straight line. People who achieve big goals—we call them “winners”—simply fall forward. Two steps forward, one step back. They ask this powerful QBQ: “How can I experience some pain today?” Not kidding, they really do.

Losing perspective

There are very few things that happen to us that we can call “tragic.” I know tragic, as many of you do. When my mom died on a May afternoon at age 51 of an aneurysm days shy of my 17th birthday, I came to understand—and feel—tragic. But short of experiences like this, we humans do make mountains into molehills—in our minds. My good friend, Kevin Brown, says, “Life is fair—bad things happen to all of us.” If you really want to know my thoughts on this perspective thing, just read (or re-read) Becca Boo’s story. Remember what someone once said: “I’ve had many problems—some of which came true.” So go ahead, take a risk today. 

Finger-pointing and blame

We state this in Outstanding!: “All problems are in the past, but solutions are right now. It’s hardly possible to find a solution while we’re pointing fingers at other people, in part because we’re stuck in the past. Whatever happened happened. It’s over and done. Focusing on finding solutions rather than finding scapegoats brings us into the present.” We can only possess momentum living right here, right now. IQs: “Who did this to me?” and “Who is going to help me succeed?” QBQ: “What can I do to solve the problem?” Now that’s personal accountability!

Worrying about what others think

Ah, yes, the ties that surely bind: The opinions of others. What our parents, siblings, bosses, friends, and neighbors think is a metaphorical shackle that hold us back from doing what we want to do with our lives. Many a future actor, musician, or even salesperson has shared their dreams with a powerful influencer in their life only to hear this retort: “Why don’t you get a real job?” My counsel? IGNORE THEM! It’s your life. Make of it what you will.

Playing the victim

Would you purposely go outside, wade into a swamp, and wallow in it? Yuck! And if nothing else just think how hard it would be to walk through it, how much it would slow us down. Well, victim thinking is a swamp that many choose to wallow in even though it eats away at our soul, making us a lesser person. We were created to create. We were made to work, to get things done. Not wait for a handout or for “things to go my way.” Let’s step out of the swamp of victim-itis and ask those accountable QBQs, “What can I do today to contribute?” and “How can I make a difference?” Remember, when we play victim we serve nobody
not even ourselves.

I’m sure there are many more momentum killers, but that’s it from me. I need to go get stuff done—as I’m sure you do, too. But, we’d love to hear from you, so visit our QBQ.com/Blog and join the discussion by sharing more Momentum Killers to add to our list above.

And keep in mind that whether it’s winning a basketball game or succeeding in life, it’s all about "The Big Mo."

PS: Shipping autographed "Parenting the QBQ Way" books with FREE shipping here: https://qbq.com/store/products.php?product=Parenting-the-QBQ-Way!

John G. Miller
Denver, Colorado

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