As a freshman tight-end at the University of Iowa, my son in-law, Allen Reisner, had his red-shirt unexpectedly ripped off in a game against Indiana. So unexpected was it, that I wasn’t even at the game. I was 30 miles away refereeing our son Jax’s soccer game when my phone suddenly rang. It was my daughter Lauren screaming into the phone, “Allen just made his first catch!” I could barely hear her over the crowd noise at Kinnick Stadium.
Parents of seven-year-olds don’t like it when the ref quits refereeing
As the crowd noise started to subside, I could hear Lauren better as she explained that one of the older tight ends, Tony Moeaki I think, had been hurt so Coach Ferentz was forced to put Allen in. My mind was already racing with how to get to Happy Valley for the game against Penn State the following Saturday. By this time the parents were starting to get a little upset with me, so I tabled my travel plans for the moment and went back to be a referee.
Celebrating the big moments is easy
Two weeks after his first catch as an Iowa Hawkeye, Allen scored his first of many touchdowns. It was a thing of beauty that made ESPN’s Plays of the Week. As Allen bolted for the endzone, instinctively I clenched my fists and threw my arms in the air, though I remained silent until he reached the endzone. Once Allen’s own clenched fist went in the air, I joined with the 72,000 people who were going crazy…celebrating. I found myself hugging and high-fiving people I’d never met and would likely never see again. My cell phone nearly blew up with text messages.
Celebrating the small moments is harder, but no less important
Allen went on to play for the Vikings, Jaguars and Ravens. Every time I was able to attend practice, I was struck by how NFL players celebrate the small things. Even in training camp, when guys are competing for the same position, most players make it a point to high-five and encourage each other, even after the routine plays.
I think we can take a page from great athletes. Long before Allen had made the end-zone that first time, he’d made a million little catches in practice. I’m sure his coaches patted him on the back each time and said, “Now, go run the play again.” It’s the little celebrations that lead to big ones.
Allen taught me to celebrate the big moments and the little ones
So, we’ve reached the end of my ingredients. Start with a vision and quickly determine your purpose. Hire great people. Get in touch with the fact that to start a business, you need to be a little mad. Listen to your customers and be cautious about who you spend your time with. Look forward to set goals and backwards to measure results. Go face-to-face with your customers as often as you can. Raise the right money but keep control. Lastly, take time to celebrate – the little things as well as the big things.
Do all the above and you’ll be just fine.