A Lesson From “The Running of The Nags” | Travel Research Online


A Lesson From “The Running of The Nags”

Whether you follow horse racing or not, or even if you could not care less about another sports analogy, this past Saturday featured the 147th running of The Kentucky Derby. For you non-sports fans, this is a horse race held in Louisville, KY where much of the pre-race TV viewing comments are focused on the women’s hat selections in and around the track.

The odds-on favorites, where all smart betters placed their bets, were Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie. Rumor had it that one horse-racing aficionado placed a $2.5 million bet on Essential Quality. One would think he knew what he was doing.



I’ll cut to the tape. Essential Quality, “the favorite” did not come in first… or second… or third. Hot Rod Charlie, affectionately known as “Chuck” to his owners, did not win the “run for the roses” either. He came in third.

The winner was a horse named Medina Spirit who entered the gates as a 12-1 long shot. So, the question now surfaces. How did a long shot beat the two shoe-ins? The answer is both simple and obvious. Medina Spirit ran faster than the other 19 horses on Saturday. Notice I did not say he was the fastest horse in the group. I said on Saturday he ran faster than the rest.

And so it is with you, my friends. You may not be the smartest, biggest, most experienced or well-connected travel professional known to mankind. But on any given day, any given opportunity, any potential new piece of business, you do have the ability to strut your stuff all the way to the winner’s circle. How you ask?


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Here is a simple game plan if you intend on keep playing the game.

  1. Prior to the race keep training, practicing, reading, and listening.
  2. Show up every day ready to run, serve, compete.
  3. Don’t be intimidated by the “faster” horses or the odds-on favorites.
  4. When the bell sounds, run your &*^ off.
  5. Don’t stop running until you cross the finish line.
  6. If you win, be humble but find time to celebrate.
  7. If you lose, register for the next race.

Here is another piece of advice I have for you today. This came from a pre-race interview of one of the horse’s trainers. With all the hype and hoop-la attached to an event like the Kentucky Derby, this trainer was asked how he managed to keep it all together. I immediately jotted down his response, knowing that I would be sharing his words with you today.

His response was, “I concentrate and block out the noise.” To me, this was BRILLIANT. Concentrate is another word for “focus.” I want you to focus on your personal goals and objectives. I want you to focus on your customers. I want you to focus on your health and mental attitude. I also want you block out the noise when it comes to your negative self-talk.

I’ve said this in many ways over the years, and it is truer today than ever before: Do not allow The Dow Jones, the weatherman, your local or national politicians to affect you personally when it comes to growing your business. If it helps, put on a pair of blinders like you see on a few racehorses which helps them keep their eyes pointing forward, away from the distractions and toward the finish line.

Like them or not, we can all learn a great deal from sporting analogies. In today’s case, the roses go to a four-legged winner who refused to believe that he could not win on May 1st.


A headshot of the author, Mike Marchev

Mike Marchev is always looking for a few more proactive travel professionals to join his Sales and Marketing Club. mike@mikemarchev.com.

*** You want more to think about? Check out my weekly podcast (Mike’d Up Marchev). Also listed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google, and iHeartRadio.

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