Breaking Down The Jab
They have called it the Sweet Science for as long as I can remember and after you've read this blog post, you'll see why. I won't get into the shear brutality of the sport as I want to draw attention to a valuable life-lesson we can all learn from the sports most basic punch. You guessed it! It's the jab! A quick, snappy punch thrown with one's weaker hand, the jab is more than just a way to strike your opponent. It can be used to create distance, press an attack, disrupt your opponent's rhythm or set up your power punch. You can fire off one good jab or let loose a flurry of jabs to keep the other fighter guessing. In the technical, professional sport of boxing, most fighters use it to score decisive points. Simply put, get it in the opponents face or gut as quickly as possible; in and out and back in again.
The first principle that can be taken from the jab is all too obvious: Consistency! The jab is the most basic and menial task that often reflects some of the mundane tasks we must compile in abundance to achieve both short and long term goals. If you're a filmmaker, there are several 'jabs' you could be practicing even now to hone your craft. Whether you're a novice or a seasoned vet, you should always be writing. Like the jab, it shouldn't cost you much in energy consumption. For video (and even audio) editors, you should be editing; Composers should be practicing scales or notating (our version of writing). You get the point, I hope.
The other thing is volume, or quantity. Judges tend to favor busier fighters, usually the ones controlling the point totals by throwing (and landing) jabs early and often. When it comes to the seemingly menial tasks in your line of work, think of times and opportunities when you could've given more effort in terms of volume or quantity. For my millennial group, the term content creation should be a bit more your speed to help drive this point home. How often to you release content (throw the jab) and how often is that content relevant to your audience's needs (land the jab)?
The 80/20 Rule
Don't get it twisted. Don't think for a second that these are all easy tasks, because easy requires no effort and that's not the point here, as even a poorly thrown or ill-timed jab can cause injury... (Or you could just get knocked out). It makes me think of a concept I've recently wrapped my head around called the 80-20 principle, which basically states that 80% of results you receive is based on 20% of effort you put in to achieve those results. Yes, I can already see those wheels turning in your head. This principle (also called Pareto's principle) is a razor sharp, double-edged sword, as it can be positive or negative.
Let's apply it to Boom Mic Operator Bob... or just Bob. 80% of Bob's success on being called back to work on multiple projects is based on 20% of the effort he puts into being professional, friendly and hard working. Camera Operator Cammy, on the other hand isn't professional at all. She's almost always late and doesn't work well with others. We can then also say that 80% of Cammy's alleged 'bad luck' is due to 20% of her attitude, mindset and habits. 20%, people! So Cammy doesn't have to completely alter her personality. She simply has to account for 20% of an attitude adjustment and mindset shift and voila! She'd start to see a positive employment response of, you guessed it: 80%!
What's it all mean?
Much like the figurative boxing match we've been discussing, when it came to making consistent decisions for my career and my life, I wasn't always throwing the jab. Sometimes I didn't throw it at all. I'd spend nearly all the rounds slipping, bobbing and weaving, hoping to land that one blow that would end the fight in a victory for me. Lots of people think this way. They ignore the most fundamental core actions they can engage in to build a solid foundation, and instead seek only the homerun deal or acquisition. The thing is, if you wait too long to land a knockout punch, what if you miss? What if you connect and it has no effect? Your opponent spent the entire fight jabbing away, building a social media following, honing their craft watching youtube videos, etc...
So my challenge to you is simple. Find what your 'jab' is and throw that jab as early and as often as possible! Be wise, though. Stamina is also a key factor that have cost many boxers a fight and even their careers. For example, we're still all riding the New Year wave. The gyms are still fairly packed with people, most of which WILL quit come February. Determine what your career stamina level is, and be honest. Are you filled with tons of motivation and very little follow through? Then your jab is your follow through and you need to work that thing like it's going out of style! Once you've gotten your stamina up, get creative with you 'jab.' Can it be monetized? Can it be a way to differentiate yourself from your competition? Is it teachable?
And The Winner By Decision....
It really is all about deciding what you want to do and how you want to do it. I hope the jab analogy brought it home for you the way it did for me. Once you've decided to run your business like an actual business and once you've decided to kill every bad habit that kept you from thriving in the past, you'll be an unstoppable force in your industry or line of work. No one wins in this life by out-motivating the next guy. You've got to out-box everyone in your network figuratively so that the judges in your industry can clearly and easily pick a winner.
If domination is your goal, then consider arguably the boxer with the greatest jab, Lennox Lewis who had this to tweet back in March of 2018. "You can’t just make a jab an inconvenience or annoyance for an opponent, you have to make it a weapon... a punishing piston that they have to think twice and three times about."
And there you have it, folks. Consider the 80/20 principle this year. Consider the fact that there are still well over 300 days left and consider the your stamina. Determine what your 'jab' is from now, and be sure to deploy it early and often. If looking ahead to an entire year overwhelms you, breakdown your projects and goals by quarter and think of them as rounds. Don't come out swinging every power punch in your arsenal in quarter one. Throw that jab and use them to set up your power punches or power moves near the end of the 3rd quarter and before the end of the year.
Keep in mind that your opponent may very well be the person in the mirror. Well? What are you waiting for? Knock yourself out!