Those who know me, know that I love my footy.   I grew up in the country and watching football on tv on a weekend was a family pass time.  Today is a sad day in AFL – and one that has a huge impact on Essendon (and its supporters) not only today but for years to come.

THIRTY four past and present Essendon players have been found guilty of doping and have been suspended for the entire 2016 season.

So rather than focus on the negative and the arguments for and against the entire dismal long winded process to get to today’s result, I wanted to turn it around.  I wanted to discuss how we can all learn, as business owners, from such an experience.

These are my takeaways:

1. Nothing in life is certain. Your future is not written down and things won’t just happen like a fairytale story.  Imagine if your income was just taken away for the next twelve months?  Do you have a “Plan B?”.  I am sure most people don’t.  I always encourage my clients in our financial coaching sessions to always be planning at least 3 months ahead – minimum.

2. Never assume anything.  Don’t assume your clients or customers will be there tomorrow.  Loyal Essendon fans are now rethinking their membership and their allegiance.  Your tribe could turn on you when you need them most.  You should always put your clients and customers ahead of any personal gain that you think you are getting.

3. Some things are not worth the risk.  I know as business owners we take risks every day.  How much stock should we buy, should we lease an office space, should we work with that client?  But some risks (such as things that effect rules, regulations and legal issues) are simply not worth the risk.  Your reputation and brand are at stake.

4. Trust is vital for success.  Ask yourself – do you trust the people that are giving you advice?  Do you trust their reputation, their knowledge and why they are asking you to do the things they are?  Ignorance is not an excuse.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to ask why and don’t stop asking until you are satisfied with the answers you get.

5. Being a sheep never pays off.  I know in business, for longevity and success, you need a team around you.  However, follow the wrong “Hird” (sorry – couldn’t resist the pun), and it will lead you away from your dreams and goals.  Whilst it is great (and often vital) to have mentors and leaders to follow, you still need to remain true to yourself.

Yes I have strong opinions on the Essendon saga and do I feel sorry for the players – no not really.  I think we all make choices in life (and business), every single day, and I simply can’t condone anyone making decisions which are so drastically outside the scope of the rules.

“It’s time to play fair, respect the boundaries and understand that nobody is  outside the scope of legal obligations – in football and in business.”

Have you been faced with a really tough situation in your business – and how did you come through the other side?  I would love to hear your thoughts.