Mike Tyson Gives Us Some Solid Business Advice

Business advice from a champion: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

I came across this gem of a quote from Mike Tyson a few days ago, and I just can’t stop thinking about it.

(My father in law mentioned it as one of his favorite quotes. I’m not sure what it means that he said this to me, his son in law…but, anyway…)

Without taking things “too far,” I believe there are two little bits of business wisdom in this quote.

1. Your plans WILL change

While there’s nothing wrong with planning – whether that means writing a business plan or just planning the next day’s activities – you’re bound to get punched in the mouth. Okay, maybe not literally…but, don’t be so fixated on your plans that you have trouble adapting.

Plan on change

When designing your launch or growth strategy, anticipate a range of alternative outcomes and plan a course of action for each one. While you may still be surprised by a situation, you’ll be better prepared to handle unexpected circumstances.

Keep a buffer

Don’t pack your day’s schedule with back-to-back meetings and projects. Instead, leave yourself as much buffer time as possible. Not only will your day be more evenly paced and manageable, but you’ll be able to handle surprises much more effectively.

Appreciate luck

Not all surprises are bad! Countless successful entrepreneurs admit that being in the right place at the right time is a major factor contributing to professional success. If you anticipate fortunate circumstances arising around you, and you give yourself the time to recognize and act on them, you’ll be able to seize opportunities when they arise.

2. What you gonna do about it?

The other part about this quote that I love is that it begs the question, “Now, what are you going to do about it?” You just got punched in the mouth. Your plans just got shattered along with two of your front incisors. The metallic tinge of blood shocks your taste buds. Now, what are you going to do about it?

Buckle down

The first decision you have to make is whether or not you’re going to quit. As an entrepreneur, chances are pretty good you won’t quit. So, instead, you’ve got to shake it off, recognize that your plans aren’t going to work any longer, and face reality with more energy than before.

Learn from it

Now that you’re back on your feet, you need to assess what went wrong. Could you have foreseen the surprise? Could you have done anything differently? This isn’t about dwelling on what you did wrong; it’s about objectively examining things and learning concrete lessons you can apply moving forward. For example, if you noticed your opponent’s face twitch right before you got smacked, maybe you should anticipate a haymaker next time you see your opponent’s face twitch.

Reframe and re-engage

Now that you’re ready to anticipate that surprise next time it’s headed your way, what are you going to do? Time for a new plan. Based on what you know now, what strategy might work? What’s a new strategy that’s adaptable and can be tested immediately? Go with it, but this time, know you might get punched in the mouth.