3-2-1, swish!

With 2.7 seconds left, Georgia State's R.J. Hunter gracefully hit a clutch 35-foot 3-pointer for a thrilling win against Baylor during Thursday's night NCAA March Madness tournament.

There's a reason the term "Madness" is used, and this moment, this game, and this play, defines exactly why. For it's absolute "Madness" to have Georgia State- the No. 14 seed that returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 14 years, beat Baylor, the No. 3 seed in an exhilarating victory that will go down as a March Madness historic moment. A win so epic, that Ron Hunter, R.J.'s father and coach, literally and figuratively fell out of his chair celebrating his son's game-winning shot (footage that has now become a social media sensation owning it's own twitter handle @RonHunterschair).

"R.J. used to practice the '3, 2, 1 Reggie Miller shot' every time he would leave the gym,'' Ron Hunter said. "I would make him go 3, 2, 1 ... turn and make the shot." That's something Reggie Miller used to practice all the time....today, it was the same shot.''

While a narrative like Georgia State demonstrates the ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, for some entrepreneurs, this is a challenge faced daily. Similar to R.J.'s incessant practice shot, here's the 3-2-1 of what Georgia State's victory can teach you about running your business:

3- "Never fear being the underdog."

Unlike Georgia State, Baylor operates within an athletic department of a nearly $100 million budget. Assuming the role of the underdogs in every way, Coach Ron Hunter wanted his team to embrace it.

"I told (the team) at the beginning...'Guys, at the end of the day, think about this: They put Baylor up in the Hyatt, they flew in here on a nice charter flight. They put us on a bus and put us in the Holiday Inn. And guess what, we get to stay another day."

In business, there are always going to be certain variables you can't control, especially when you're just starting out. Stay focused on your goals, and don't allow yourself to become intimidated by the external influences of monolithic competitors. To quote one of my favorite underdog movies, Hoosiers - "Forget about the crowds, the size of the school and their fancy uniforms...and remember what got you here".

2- "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

While R.J. Hunter stole the show in the end, (with his now infamous clutch 3-pointer), he had a mere 2 points until late in the second half, and missed 7 of his first 8 shots. It wasn't until the final stretch of the game his persistence paid off. In typical "Cinderella" fashion, Georgia State miraculously went on a 13-0 run to end the game, as R.J. scored 12 of the final 13 points finishing with 16 points.

Like R.J.'s shot attempts in the first half, entrepreneurs fail constantly. And if you are one, chances are, you've already felt the sting of failure. Good news is, if you have, then you're one step ahead. The sooner you fail, the closer you are to applying those learnings to succeed. Just keep at it. Even billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban admitted this in his book:

"It doesn't matter how many times you fail. You only have to be right once and then everyone can tell you that you are an overnight success."

1- "Don't worry about the next step until you've climbed the one in front of you."

What makes March Madness a nation-wide phenomenon, oozing with emotion, is that there are 68 teams, all fighting for just one goal. And they only get one shot. That's it. As a single-elimination tournament, the goal for each team when they step on the court is simple...win or go home.

As an entrepreneur, you have a lot on your plate--constant stream of employees, customers, emails, and phone calls all demanding your attention. Operating in today's digital environment of instant gratification can make the simple art of "focus" seem like an impossible task. Treat each task like it's a "one-and-done" deal. Set your goal, and finish what's in front of you before moving on to the next. Challenging yourself to a "single-elimination" approach to your business will help you stay focused on what's in front of you today, and not get distracted by what may or may not be there for you tomorrow.

Over the next few weeks, more and more NCAA Cinderella tales will continue to be told. As fans nationwide wait with bated breath for the next unexpected outcome, channel these impossible feats as a reminder of what's possible in your business...

3-2-1, swish!

Published on: Apr 5, 2015