I was recently listening to a tennis podcast. The hosts were recapping the results from the US Open.
One of them brought up this concept he titled ‘Cumulative Pressure’. He was specifically talking about it in the case of Coco Gauff, who happened to win that US Open.
He explained how Coco would continue to run down balls, making that one extra shot where other players would have pulled up, giving up without even trying to hit that final shot.
However, just because Coco made the extra shot doesn’t mean she actually won the point. She in fact lost the entire first set, so all that ‘extra’ work chasing down that one extra shot in rallies only to still lose would make it seem like a waste of energy.
The podcast host — Kamau Murray — is also a tennis coach. His claim to fame is coaching Sloane Stephens to a US Open title.
Murray said the reason for running down everything, even if you lose the point, is not just about creating more chances to win. It’s a form of cumulative pressure. You’re telling the other player that you won’t give up, that they are going to have to win the point, you won’t give them anything for free.
He then said something I found really interesting…
If you lose the set, that’s okay. If you lose even the match, that’s okay too, because the cumulative pressure exists in the memory of your opponent.
Over time, because you put so much pressure on your opponent and never give up on any ball, they feel the pressure. That pressure might lead to you winning the second set, and the third, as Coco did to win the US Open.
Or, perhaps you lose the match, but the next time you play you win because the pressure has carried through. This could continue match after match, but eventually the pressure is too much, and you win.
The Cumulative Nature Of Results In Business
As I reflected on this concept of Cumulative Pressure, I realized it applies to business as well.
There are many times you do things in business and the desired result does not happen.
Yet, once you do achieve the result you are after and you reflect back, you understand it was the accumulation of elements coming together over time that lead to the outcome.
The hard part is when you keep hitting the extra ball, yet still lose the point, the set, and even the match.
Or in the case of business, you keep working, you build something, you try and sell it, yet the buyers don’t show up.
Compounding Elements You Can’t See
Most successful people will talk about the importance of compounding.
Whether it’s compounding skills, money, or just the combination of various systems and people coming together over time, with actions repeated to create something of value.
The challenge is much of this compounding happens without any obvious indicators. It isn’t until you try and sell something with a business that you get the number that matters most – income.
Many years ago I set a goal to earn $30,000 a month from an online business. It was $1,000 a day, a truly tremendous amount of money in my eyes at the time.
I was already on to my second business when I set this goal. Despite my best effort, that second business never reached my income goal, but what I learned from the first and second business compounded my knowledge and skills.
I was then able to translate that accumulation of past experience when I started a new business – a content and teaching business – into the result I desired.
It took many years, but if I hadn’t learned about SEO, copywriting, content marketing, and eventually email marketing, product launches, affiliate marketing and many other things, I would never have hit my goal.
I took the skills and knowledge gained from my first two businesses (not to forget the lessons learned from mistakes) and applied them to my new business.
This gave me a huge head start, because I was already comfortable with building a website and publishing content and charging money for products and services and supporting customers.
I also had all the stories I could draw upon for content, a very important thing when you want to teach with your ideas.
Of course my third business didn’t quickly reach my $30,000/month goal either, but it did eventually.
I had to build an audience (especially an email newsletter subscriber base), create products, and market my offers. Eventually I could look back and I’d made more than $400,000 in one year, that was more than $30,000 a month, or $1,000 a day.
This experience occured over ten years of my life. From 19 to 29 years old. Many times during this period I was doing a lot, creating, publishing, learning, yet the result wasn’t there.
I couldn’t at the time understand how the accumlation of so many different things would help to deliver the result I wanted. This made it very difficult at times. I felt lost, confused, wondering if I was doing the right things.
Mistakes were of course part of the process. Yet the accumulation of learning from those mistakes also compounded as well. I began to know what I didn’t know previously, meaning the next time I could adjust, experiment with the benefit of experience.
They key was to keep moving forward. To not give up, to always hit the extra ball. Even though my first and second business didn’t get me there, my third did.
Your Result Is Building
I share this because I want to encourage you to ‘hit the extra ball’ with your business, even when it might seem like nothing is working.
You don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes. You don’t know who is talking about you, or where your content is being read or watched, or how certain lessons or elements are coming together to create an outcome that you can’t see yet.
The only way for compounding to occur is to commit to a process of creating cumulative pressure towards the goal you want. If you continue to identify problems or constraints, learn how to solve them, and keep taking action to figure out what works, you can’t help but succeed… eventually!
It will take more than one match to finally win. Your current business may not be the one that gets you where you want to go, but it is playing a vital role, taking you closer to what you want even if you don’t see specifically how today.
Remember, this could be a ten year journey you are on. It could be more, or it could be less, it’s hard to know until you finally get to where you want to be.
If you feel frustrated about something lacking in your life today, ask yourself how likely you think it is you can create the change you want if you have ten years of working toward it every day to get there.
I bet you’re thinking you don’t even need ten years, it will happen sooner. As long as you stay committed to the path and adjust as needed, results are envitable.