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  • Writer's pictureChuck Cusumano

The Slingshot Analogy

By Chuck Cusumano and Jillian Broaddus

When you were a kid, do you remember finding the perfect tree branch that formed that wonderful “Y” shape you could make a slingshot out of? Or maybe you were lucky enough to buy a manufactured slingshot? In either case, you learned many valuable lessons about life, business, economics, and physics. For instance…

Slow = Steady = Fast.

If you pulled the pouch (with the rock, pig iron ball, or ball bearing) back too quickly, it would skew your wrist to the left or right and your shot would miss the mark. So, you learned that pulling the pouch back slowly, allowing your wrist to be steady, gave you the fastest way to hit your target because your aim was true. Is that not the same as learning to crawl to walk to run? How many times in life are we too quick to shoot and end up missing the whole mark? Going slow at first is the wise and prudent thing; once you have built up your wrist strength and your proficiency with your new toy, then you can go at it faster and faster until it becomes one fluid motion! This same process is true in relationships, business ventures, and promoting leaders. Slow = Steady = Fast.

Adding additional support is a force multiplier!

Now if you were really lucky when you were a kid, you upgraded from the hand-held slingshot and purchased a wrist-rocket! The wrist-rocket is a slingshot with an added portion that goes over your forearm to add additional support to your wrist strength, thus allowing you to pull the pouch farther back and keep your wrist steady because of the increased tension. The result? Longer, straighter, more accurate, and more powerful shots! Is this any different from adding additional support for your team or for your leadership? Seeking help if a relationship is not working well? If you are the only one taking the shots, trying to do everything, or just unwilling to add additional support because it may cost too much or take too much time, then you missed the entire slingshot concept as a kid. More people shooting hit more targets. More support adds additional strength and endurance. So don’t be afraid to upgrade to a wrist-rocket!

Going backwards is really going forwards if you know the physics of the slingshot!

Many of us have only known the economics of up-and-to-the-right on the x-y graph: always upward, always growing, more sales, more profit, more furniture, more stuff, more money, more Instagram moments, and always getting more and always having more! But, just like the main concept of the slingshot, you must go backwards to go forwards. And the further back you can go (without breaking the rubber band) the further and faster you can travel! Many times, having to break-off a relationship or break your current business model to invent another one is the only way to move forward. But we are conditioned in our society to never retreat, never give up, and never take less. However, sometimes less is more: often, when we are forced to have the same output with less input (think today’s labor market), we become the most resourceful! Spring cleaning and getting rid of unused stuff makes us more efficient. Just because you have 5,000 Facebook friends or 2,000 followers on your social media account does not mean you have any type of meaningful relationships. Cut back on the people you follow. Cut back on the number of relationships or events you feel obligated to put time and energy into. Go deeper with fewer people and watch what happens! Do less, better!

The Gravitational Slingshot was used to bring the Apollo 13 spacecraft and crew safely back to Earth! Without going behind the moon (effectively going backwards or further into space), the Apollo 13 crew would have never been able to reach Earth on its own power. It was not the original plan to go backward, but it became the only plan to save the crew!

Slingshot your way out of 2021 and into 2022. Reduce what you do not need. Cut down on any extra weight or drag that is caused by carrying too much “stuff” around with you: mentally, physically, emotionally, or just refusing to deeply look at what you have been doing. Pull backward as far as you can without breaking the rubber band and see if you do not launch yourself, your business, your career, and your relationships to further heights in 2022! Or better yet – buy a wrist-rocket!

If you want to reinvent yourself or your team but are not sure the steps to take, let us help you at

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