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Article: Building Momentum for Success Related Resources

Building Momentum for Success
by Barbara Bartlein, The People Pro

When I was in college, one of my close friends, Bill, was drafted to play in the Army band. A thin, wiry, kind of guy, he pounded the snare drum for ceremonial dinners and military festivities. On occasion, however, he was called upon to handle the bass drum for military parades.

The bass drum is a huge instrument, very heavy and bulky to wear. The musician not only has to carry it several miles for long processions, he has maintain the beat for the rest of the band while navigating through an obstructed view.

One morning Bill donned this equipment for a lengthy parade through Atlanta. As weight of the drum pulled his shoulders down, we secretly wondered how he would ever be able to walk the long course with the band. After giving him words of encouragement, we made our way to the parade route so we would be sure to see him.

We felt the excitement of the crowd as the band music grew in volume near our vantage point at the base of a hill. They launched into “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Phillip Sousa while high stepping their descent down a large incline.

Quickly spotting Bill, we waved our hands and yelled approval. Our hands stopped mid-air, however, as we noted that Bill seemed to be picking up steam as he marched down the hill. To our amazement, we watched him stumble through the drum section, eclipse the French horns, streak through the clarinets, and jaunt through the trumpets. As the band reached the base of the hill, there was Bill standing next to the drum major, both exchanging surprised looks. Laughing with tears in our eyes, we ran toward a chagrined drummer who had underestimated the power of momentum.

Momentum plays an important role in business as well. Success breeds success. It is easier to make contacts, get leads, obtain referrals, when you have a lot of contacts, leads and referrals. That is why the best time to find a new job is when you already have one. When your career is flourishing, it is easy to keep new business, opportunities and ventures coming your way.

Some rules of momentum:

•It takes tremendous energy to begin a new direction. New products, new ventures or just trying to crank up more activities when things are slow take a lot of energy. It is very critical to plan for this energy and understand that extra time is necessary to get things going. Plan on working at least half-time; that is, any twelve hours per day will work.

•Little progress is apparent in the beginning. It is often difficult to evaluate return on investment early in the momentum process. You may plant seeds that take several months or even years to grow. Much like throwing spaghetti at a wall, you may try a number of different approaches until you find some that stick.

•The temptation to quit is usually strongest right before success. It is easy to get discouraged when the fruits of your labor don’t seem to be paying off. But so often, just a little more effort will get you to your rewards. Many a fortune has been lost because an idea was given up too soon.

•Momentum still requires maintenance. While a wheel in motion tends to stay in motion, it still needs periodic assistance. Focus on doing more of what is working and eliminate what isn’t. And always be feeding the pipeline for the next slow period.

And be careful of walking downhill with a bass drum.

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Barbara Bartlein, The People Pro may be contacted at

FREE E-mail newsletter, sign on at Barbara Bartlein, is The People Pro, and President of Great Lakes Consulting Group, LLC, which helps companies sell more goods and services by developing people. She can be reached at 888-747-9953, by e-mail at: or visit her website at


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