The long slide to gone

I drove past a hobby shop yesterday. It’s hard to make out the awning, but it says, "Hobbies, Trains, R/C Models, Coffee, Lottery."

Bit by bit, on each declining day, it became easier to become more average, to add one more item, to sell a few more lottery tickets or another cup of coffee.

And then, the next thing you know, there’s some dusty trains in the back and you’re running a convenience store.

This place, just about every place, has a shot at greatness, at becoming a destination, a place with profits and happiness and growth. Along the way, it’s easy to start compromising your marketing, because it seems like in that moment, it’s expedient.

When this starts happening, the answer is not to do it more. Instead, it’s worth a full stop. Is this what you set out to do? Is compromising everything going to get you to a place that was worth the journey? Wouldn’t it be smarter to just stop selling trains and do something else (lottery tickets, even) but do it really really well.

We spend a lot of time talking about the ends and the means, but it’s also worth considering whether the journey is worth the reward. If you have to compromise what you do just to keep doing it, what’s the point?