Which of the following do you think is the better choice:
A) Investing in yourself with a proven growth plan
B) Buying something that has a shelf life of 30 days? The only guarantee of success is investing in you! I like many of you have purchased a download or an online program only to never actually do anything with it once the online sales pitch ended. Why do we do this? That’s a great question, and the answer is this: “…we are all looking to fill a need, and we simply do not know what the need is at any given time; only that something is missing.
Well, duh, even I can figure that much out, how do I figure out what it is that I am looking for or that is missing in the first place? Wow, you are just full of great questions today! All kidding aside here, you and I are not alone, millions have this same issue when it comes to figuring out what it is that is missing.
Let’s start by asking this: “Where is it that we are trying to go?” Many might answer with a vague overarching answer which is neither specific enough or has any action steps that are broken down by year, month, week, day, an hour or even parts of an hour.
That is what specific looks like.
We get roped into thinking that those few who seem to rise to the top on a rocket ride got there through luck, brains, timing or some other magical element that we lack.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Those riding a rocket did have a detailed definite plan with action steps which were written out, followed, re-evaluated, checked off, and when the plan failed to produce; they didn’t go out and buy someone else’s idea or product, they went back to their plan and looked carefully at the point that thing went off-track. Is this something you routinely do? Most of us may do this some of the time, but not 100% of the time. It takes guts to critique “your baby.”
Let me tell you a story about how I learned a valuable lesson. When I first started out being in business for myself, I had a mentor and a coach who were invaluable in getting me up and started. I put up my website; I wrote blog posts every day for several years, I had more clients than I had hours in the day to work with, and yet I was not fulfilled, and I wasn’t getting the level of customer that I knew would benefit from my expertise. So I did what one of my mentors today calls a “business autopsy.” Yes, it means just that, I went back and looked at every decision I had ever made in business until I found out where I took that first exit from my dream of having a viable going business, feeling fulfilled and working only as much as I wanted to work with the type of customer that I wanted to work with. Where do you think I took that first exit off of my original plan?
As I did my business autopsy, what I discover are the following exits; you see it wasn’t just one, there were many exits, and I had no idea I was taking them.
Exit 1 – When my initial pool of customers [usually it is about 250 for anyone person] dried up, and no referrals came in – I exited to the land of “…I have the solution for you to grow your list and get more eyeballs on your blogs…”
Exit 2 – When the first exit did not result in customers, I began to accept anything that walked, talked and basically breathed. My result was the customers were not my ideal, and they could not pay my top dollar which hurt my income.
Exit 3 – Okay I have living customers, and I have to make up the shortfall, due to low paying customers…..so I listened to the advice on online salesmen who told me I need to have a product line to sell online to get those customers who would most likely never be my ideal, but I would have an evergreen online revenue stream that would be selling and making me money while I was sleeping.
Now that’s a great gig!
Nope, once you do all this work of getting your IP [intellectual property] down and in a format and a separate sales page, website, edits, programs that have artwork, and a million other details which can take months to create, I was out some pretty serious money, and the who process of getting an online business storefront up and running was overwhelming to me. Add on top of all of this, an ever-changing marketplace on the internet which was mind-boggling.
Exit 4 – There’s a solution for all that time, money and ever-changing pace…. I had to have a “Done for You” product or person to whom I can send raw copy to and wa-la they do all the work and just bank the money.
Now as you read this and I write this, it seems obvious to both of us what was going on, doesn’t it? But when you are mired in it, and you come into your office daily and do not what to do, you begin doubting that you should even be in business.
Instead of detailing any more of my shame of exit ramps, let’s head back to what I stopped doing in the first place that got me off track. Where did I get off-track?
I went off-course when I stopped using my process. Now your business plan/process may not look like the illustration on the right; however, you do have one. And “YES” not having a business plan/process is yours! You see just because something doesn’t produce the results you are looking for, a business person must go back and look at the plan again and check and re-evaluate it to make sure it is sound.
Remember earlier when I told you I was writing a blog every day for several years? Once I went back and looked at that insanity, and I found a banker’s box full of
half-baked ideas and written blogs. What a waste of time and IP! Another mentor of mine once told me: “..Just because you have an idea [or someone else is doing something different]; doesn’t mean you need to say it, write it much less publish it….”
What a kick in the pants.
I have coached and mentored thousands of professionals, and one thing I know is this; if they are questioning what they are doing and the results they receive it is time to go back and look at why they started down this path in the first place. Just how passionate and fulfilled are they now that time has passed. Where did the flame die?
My signature set of questions always causes eyes to either bug out or widen, and silence ensues. The first thing I ask is this:
- “What do you believe about that [meaning whatever it is that they are dealing with in our time together]?”
- “Where did that belief come from?”
- “What would happen, if you changed your belief?”
- “What do you want to do now?”
These four questions seem ultra-simple don’t they? But these four questions are anything but simple; they actually go right to the heart of an issue. We all hold beliefs about everything in our lives and many of us act out of learned behavior, ours or someone else’s. If you are struggling right now with something, try asking yourself the questions and take your time. When you get to the heart of things, know this: you are free to change any belief you have. There is a principle at work here, and that is this: every decision you make is 100% yours, and that decision has one of two outcomes; an adverse consequence or a good consequence. The choice is always yours.
What am I doing now?
- Well, I take only client/customers that I want to work with, breathing and an upright posture are no longer qualifies.
- I work only a certain number of hours a week because that’s what fuels me.
- I am a person of faith, and my number one priority is to keep my “vertical relationship” with God in place.
You see what I learned is that when my vertical relationship gets misplaced, everything in my life takes an exit!
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