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“My Shot”: Business Thoughts from Broadway’s Hamilton 

Business Thoughts from Broadway’s Hamilton 

 Written By: Jason Coleman, CTC, ECC, CLS, LCS, DS, Business Development Manager/MentorU Coach – UNIGLOBE Travel Center



If you are a fan of the theatre, a lover of the arts, or just a Broadway junkie, you have no doubt heard about Hamilton, the modern-day musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of our country’s founding fathers. I have been privileged to see Hamilton twice since Christmas. There is one song in particular I cannot get out of my head. Yes, I find the tune catchy. But more than that, the words resonate with me. Alexander Hamilton sings (or rather raps) about the choices in front of him, and the song reflects on his hunger for grabbing those opportunities to take his “shot.” 


“I am not throwing away my shot!
I am not throwing away my shot!
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot!” 


Those lyrics cause me to immediately think about my business and the opportunities I have, my hunger and drive to achieve my goals, and whether I am living up to my potential. I do not imagine that Hamilton’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, ever envisioned his song being applied to a travel agent’s business. But I find inspiration in lots of things and I would like to share with you some of my personal insights from this amazing song and musical. 


My Shot—Capturing Every Opportunity

Opportunities are in front of us every day. Yet for a variety of reasons, we choose to leave some of them untouched. I firmly believe the cause of this revolves around self-doubt. We doubt our knowledge and education. We have doubts about our ability. We fear what will happen if the opportunity gets the “green light.” 


How many times have you let a sale slip away because you simply did not ask for the deposit? What about that referral name a client gave you? Do you follow up on every lead? Think through all the potential groups you have missed because you never pursued the business. 


Achieving success means finding a way to harness personal insecurities to put yourself out there. You will not win every opportunity that comes in front of you to consider, but you will most certainly lose every opportunity you do not pursue.  


In the musical, Hamilton badly wants a command of his own to lead on the revolution’s front line. Instead, General Washington needs a right-hand man and offers the position to Hamilton. Recognizing the opportunity, and not wanting to miss his “shot,” Hamilton accepts.  


In your business, are you able to see the opportunities that present in front of you, even while you are focused on other tasks and activities? Be aware of the opportunities you pass up, and consider how your business would be different if you captured those instead of letting self-doubt or other insecurities win. 


My Hunger—Matching Passion and Drive 

How hungry are you? No, not the kind of hungry that results in candy cravings and Taco Bell binges. (Woah, I’m sharing way too much about my vices!) The kind of hungry I am referring to is a mixture of passion and drive. It is the same hunger for independence that Hamilton and his colleagues shared as revolutionaries.  


How hungry is your business? Are you hungry for new clients? What daily actions feed that hunger? Your choices are endless, but those that are closest to your target market are most effective. These include activities like networking, referral building, and following up with current clients. Just like you eat every day to fuel your body, your business needs daily fuel as well.  


Over time, that hunger may diminish. Most of us started our travel career with a passion that burned deep. We had grand plans for building a successful business, experiencing the world, and helping clients do the same. Do you still have that same passion today? If not, what happened along the way? What do you need to recapture that hunger and fuel your passion to drive your business forward?  


I love attending industry events, conferences, and meetings that boost my motivation and keep me hungry and driven towards my goals. There is something about being in a room of like-minded colleagues to renew my energy. What is something that works for you? I’m convinced that since hunger is an internal force, your motives for being in this business can be a source of your hunger and drive.  


We all need to recharge from time to time. Whatever that is for you, be sure to make time to feed your hunger and fuel your passion. It’s what will drive you to success. 


My Potential—Managing Risk and Reward 

When I think about working to my fullest potential, I consider whether I have given my complete attention and effort to a task or activity. For example, did I just finish that task as professionally and thoroughly as possible, or did I cut corners and rush through it to be finished? I think about opportunities and leads I need to follow up on and whether I prioritize them like I should. I also think about all the support activities like ongoing marketing and networking I should be doing. 


Obviously, there are only so many hours in the day I am able (and willing) to devote to my business. That means making decisions and sacrifices. The economic principle of opportunity cost says that there is a tradeoff for doing something because I’m not able to do something else. If I choose to attend a networking luncheon, I sacrifice time I could be at the office following up on client bookings. But what could I potentially gain by that sacrifice? 


Every decision we make has certain risks and rewards associated with it.  


In our businesses, we’re not going to encounter the same risks Hamilton faced during his time. But what would he have given up if he had passed on the opportunity to be General Washington’s right-hand man? In your business, living to your potential means maximizing every opportunity. And sometimes that will mean making sacrifices in one area for greater reward in other areas. 


Are you working to your fullest potential? Are you consciously making decisions about which opportunities to pursue and which to let pass you by?  Are you taking your “shots” as they present themselves? And does your hunger fuel your passion and drive toward success?   


These are all great questions to ask yourself from time to time. And if you need a little inspiration, listen to the Hamilton soundtrack. You might just find the motivation to start your own business revolution. 


P.S. Jason Coleman was an undergraduate theatre major, he worked in professional theatre, and he even studied the art and science of theatre in London during two semesters in college. In addition, he is a fan of the theatre, a lover of the arts, and a Broadway junkie.