Believe: And 7 more important business lessons from Ted Lasso
Even if you’ve never watched it, you’ve probably heard of Ted Lasso, the hit comedy about a mediocre American football coach who is recruited to coach a Premier League football (soccer) team in the UK, even though he knows nothing about the sport. Ted, played by Jason Sudeikis, is almost painfully optimistic, even as his team rides a roller coaster of success, followed by failure, followed by success – rinse and repeat.
Part of Ted’s popularity is the result of his homespun wit and wisdom, and some of the things he says can be applied in many situations, including business ownership.
Here are eight things small business owners can learn from Ted Lasso.
“As the man once said, ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get.’”
It is true in many areas of life, and particularly so for small business owners, that we often make our own luck. Working harder can separate you from your competition, and so can working smarter. This means working harder in the time you have allotted for work, but also taking some time for your family and yourself. Recharging your batteries will help you prepare for the next day of hard work and will keep your life in balance.
“Taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse, isn’t it? If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong.”
Owning your own business usually means you have to step out of your comfort zone, at least some of the time. Rather than dreading these challenges, Ted would likely recommend that you use them to grow. Anyone who has been in business over the past few years can tell you that challenges can come out of nowhere, and often when you least expect them.
“It may not work out how you think it will or how you hope it does. But believe me, it will all work out.”
Many a business owner has a story about the kind of business they thought they would have, which is very different from the one they actually have. In some cases, a ‘sure-fire’ product turned out to be anything but, while an ancillary product or service became the lifeblood of the company. Don’t hang on too tightly to the early vision you have for your company – you might miss a golden opportunity if you do.
“You say impossible, but all I hear is ‘I’m possible.’”
Believing in yourself is one of the surest ways to be successful in business. For many business owners, being told that something cannot be done is simply an invitation to find another way to do it. If it was easy, someone else would already be doing it, so if your business is your passion, you may have to try several times to make it possible.
“Most of the time change is a good thing and I think that’s what it’s all about – embracing change, being brave, doing whatever you have to.”
As a coach, Ted has to contend with players who retire, staff who leave to go to a rival team, and even (spoiler alert!) a prima donna player who leaves the team in the lurch when they need him most. But Ted doesn’t let change bring him down. He rearranges, regroups, and refreshes – again and again. And he does whatever he has to do to make sure his players realize their full potential.
It’s the same in business. It is said that the only constant is change, so being flexible, resilient, and courageous is critical. Of course, it helps to protect your business with insurance, for the risks you can’t see coming.
“You could fill two internets with what I don’t know about football.”
Ted may not know a lot about football, but he knows a lot about motivating people and helping them perform to the best of their abilities. And after all, isn’t that what a coach really does? To make up for his lack of technical expertise in the finer points of the game, he surrounds himself with people who know more than he does, like Coach Beard and Roy Kent. Then – and this is the important part – he listens to them. Ted recognizes that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, so he seeks out those who can help guide him.
As a business owner, you may know more about your product or service than you do about the nuts and bolts of running a business. Lucky for you, there are lots of people out there who can help you with the day-to-day. Whether you hire a full-time employee, engage a part-time or contract person, or bring in a consultant, there are ways to get the help you need.
“Every disadvantage has its advantage.”
Okay, this is actually a quote from Rebecca Welton, the owner of the football team Ted coaches. But it sounds like something she learned from Ted. And it speaks to a quality of successful entrepreneurs: resilience. The ability to turn a negative into a positive is a key skill for business owners, and you can increase your ability to do this by preparing for the worst. Making sure you have the proper business insurance – and enough of it – improves your chances of coming out of a negative incident in a better place.
This one word is posted outside of Ted’s office in the team’s locker room, and it’s the one lesson Ted tries most to teach. He embodies the importance of believing in yourself, considering he came from the US to coach a sport he knew nothing about, and he encourages his players and staff to believe in themselves.
Granted, Ted Lasso is fiction, while business ownership is very, very real. But that doesn’t mean that this Cinderella story of a goofy guy with a positive outlook can’t teach us a thing or two about succeeding against the odds.