There’s just something special about the number 16.
At Vehr Communications, we’re partial to that number right now, as we’re celebrating our 16th anniversary this month. Anniversaries — of a business incorporation, a wedding date or another personal or professional milestone — are a great time to reflect on your path so far and strategize the road ahead.
We’ve been doing plenty of that, taking a deep dive into how we can continue upping our game in delivering best-in-class service to our clients.
But the number 16 isn’t special only to us — it has significance in religion, spirituality and numerology, as well. In the Bible, it is considered by some scholars to symbolize love, and the number makes key appearances throughout the holy scripture. Some spiritual writers imbue the number with meaning in terms of hope, symbolizing the power of positivity to provide strength to face challenges.
Meanwhile, in numerology — the study of numbers and their supposed influence on one’s life — the number 16 represents a composition of ideas, including wisdom, independence, intuitiveness, introspection and family.
While all of those concepts are, well, pretty cool, we can probably agree that the number 16 is most widely known for two things in our culture: coming of age and basketball. There’s hardly a teenager alive who doesn’t count turning 16 as a highlight of their life. And the NCAA’s March Madness college basketball tournament — with its Sweet 16 semifinals — reliably captivates the country year after year.
To that end, here are a few lessons on the sweetness of 16, as inspired by March Madness as well as giddy teens everywhere:
- Don’t forget to celebrate: It’s easy to get caught in the day-to-day churn and forget to mark special occasions. Whether your company or department is celebrating its first anniversary or its 16th or its 50th, there’s always something to celebrate. Milestones matter. Numbers can inspire. Did you land your 10th new contract or hit your five-year revenue goals? Maybe you added your first strategic partner or the 100th vehicle in your corporate fleet? Remember. Reflect. Rejoice.
- Just drive: One of the proudest moments in a young person’s life is when they pass their driver’s test and are free to operate a car. This is a great metaphor for many of life’s moments, at work and beyond. Get out there. Take the wheel. Use some caution, but don’t forget to go for it and just drive. Freedom, independence, adventure and experience aren’t gained from waiting around.
- Pass the ball: Nobody — seriously, nobody — likes a ball hog. Basketball is a game of strategy. The same goes for business and, well, life in general. Sometimes you’re the right person for the task, and you definitely have to shoot your shots when it matters. But you’re not on the court of life alone. Ask for help on a project. Tap an outside adviser. Bring in a great third-party partner that rounds out your skill set. Look to experts where needed. Seriously, pass the ball once in a while.
- Watch the feet: We’ve heard it countless times: Keep your eye on the ball. Of course that’s important, but don’t forget to watch the feet. Casual basketball fans or players pay a lot of attention to the ball and the hands, necessarily, but aficionados know that footwork techniques can make the game. Well-coached players have foot skills for days. What skills are your competitors using to eat your lunch while you’re busy watching their hands? What fancy footwork can you add to your bag of tricks to elevate your competitive edge?
- It’s a team sport: Basketball? For sure. Business? Most definitely. Whether you’re a solo practitioner or part of a corporation of thousands, it’s still a team endeavor. Are the right players on your team? Is it time to look for new partnerships, join more industry associations or bring in consultants who can fill in the gaps? No one wins alone. Having the right team — both internal and external — and creating an environment where they can all elevate the game together can be the difference-maker for companies.
Whether it symbolizes wisdom or positivity or hope, whether it has you looking back to your first time behind the wheel of a car or looking forward to some great basketball in the weeks ahead, here’s to a very sweet 16 indeed — for all of us and all of you.