So many things in this world can cause us to remain stagnant, become overwhelmed, and even lose sight of what it is we are here to accomplish.
As we enter week four of the series, I remain honest and open about dealing with knowing your worth. Not just from a physical perspective but from a business perspective.
Read on to see my thoughts on managing the most crucial finite resource, the danger of our comfort zones, and how to take control of your “bus.”
Lesson #22: Good things never come from comfort zones.
If you want to achieve something new and different, you have to actually do something new and different. I love this quote from Dave Hollis, “What got you here, got you here. It’s going to take something new to get you there.”
This quote came from a team meeting at The Hollis Company where the CEO laid out the vision for the brand over the following three years to their leadership team. In the meeting, Dave looked at his team and explained that none of them, himself included, possessed the skills needed to reach those three-year goals yet. “Yet” is the keyword.
Too often, that kind of statement or critique is misconstrued as a stamp of disapproval. The reality is, it’s an acknowledgment that the vision and dreams we’re often chasing will require constant growth and development. A fixed mindset takes that kind of statement as a degree of impending failure. However, a growth mindset recognizes that there is a strategy and a goal. It takes better leadership and stronger skills to get to the next level. It encourages development and innovation. It creates room for trying something new and exploring the possibilities in a safe place without fear of failure.
Here’s the thing, though–growth and development never occur in comfort zones. Doing something new and different is often very uncomfortable. Success and achievement await outside our comfort zones. When you can identify that type of fear for what it is, you can turn that fear of change into excitement for the future.
What kind of success are you missing out on because you’re too afraid to get outside your comfort zone?
Lesson #23: Time is our only finite resource, and it should never be wasted.
Money? We can earn more of it. Businesses? We can start more of them. Employees? We can hire and fire them. Time? There is no recovery of time. Time is the only resource that is entirely finite. It’s the one thing we have zero control over. It’s the one thing that keeps moving, no matter what. Regardless of what the economy looks like, no matter what is going on in your life, your business, or the world, time keeps marching on second by second.
When we learn to view time this way, it makes it a lot harder to procrastinate. It becomes a lot easier to turn off distractions, whether it’s a video game, a binge-worthy show, or even a hobby that’s gotten out of hand. When we understand that every second that goes by is a second we’ll never see again, we’re more likely to make them count.
Let me be clear–we’ve already talked about the importance of downtime, and there’s nothing wrong with entertainment, within reason. But when you’ve got goals and dreams to work on, you have to acknowledge there’s a finite amount of time to work on them.
There have been many times in my life that I’ve looked at my goals and wished I was further along. Many of those times of reflection, I’ve identified reasons I’ve fallen short, and they all have to do with time-wasters.
It may not just be about entertainment time-wasters, but it could also be about time management inefficiencies. Many of my friends and family laugh at me because I probably only set foot in the grocery store a few times per year. I typically use grocery delivery. The reason for this is my time management. The one to two hours it would take me to go to the store, walk all the aisles, check out, come home, put them all away doesn’t make sense for me to do anymore. My productivity, the things I’m working on are more important to me. The things I’m working on are far more profitable and have a much more significant impact than the small fee for the delivery services I use. For me, in my lifestyle, this is a time management issue.
Look for ways you can maximize your time. Learn to delegate time-consuming tasks that you don’t enjoy to focus on the things that matter most. Not in a place where you can spend the extra money on things like grocery delivery? That’s okay–you can still make the most of your time by planning accordingly.
If I have to take care of errands or other obligations, I try to stack all those things on specific days to maximize my “computer work” days. I like to keep my client meetings on just a couple of days each week to focus on my work the other three days. It doesn’t always work out this way, but I know my mind performs better when it can focus on similar types of work each day, rather than jumping between 10 to 15 different modes every day.
What can you do to maximize your time and energy?
Lesson #24: Change is inevitable; growth is optional.
Change is inevitable. The world we live in is ever-changing. Just like time marches on, so does the rest of the world. As comfortable and secure as things may seem today, there are always changes on the horizon. We get older, our friends and family move, opportunities present themselves, natural disasters strike, technology and innovation change the way we work. There are so many things in this world that we could consider agents of change, many of which are out of our control.
We can control how we prepare for change (expect the unexpected, save for a rainy day) and how we react to change (learn new skills, pivot strategies).
The point is, change is going to happen. But whether we grow or stay stagnant is up to us as individuals. Growth is up to each individual or group of individuals working together to advance, develop and innovate, and make change for the better.
If you’re someone with minimal education but desire to enter a specific field, it’s up to you to study that field and master a new skill set. If you’re developing a business, it’s your responsibility to grow as a leader and entrepreneur, so you’re capable of growing and scaling that brand. No matter if it’s taking online courses, hiring a coach, reading books, or other things that help you grow and improve, they’re all choices, and they’re all optional. You can choose to put in the work, invest in yourself, and become better, more capable, and more successful, or you can choose to stay the same.
Changes will come and go, but it’s our commitment to growth that will help us capitalize on change instead of being overwhelmed or even overcome by it.
Lesson #25: Take something good and turn it into something great.
Similar to Lesson 20 (‘Sometimes You Have To Say No To Good So You Can Say Yes to Great’), I have learned that sometimes you have to take something good and make it great. This lesson is best taught in Jim Collins’ Book, Good to Great.
Imagine you’re a bus driver (entrepreneur, CEO, Executive, Leader, etc.). The bus (your company) is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and who is going with you.
Most people assume great bus drivers (business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing where they’re going through heading in a new direction or articulating a fresh vision.
The fact is, leaders of companies that go from good to great don’t start with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. They stick with that discipline–first the people, then the direction–no matter how dire circumstances may be.
Get the right people on the bus.
Invest substantial time in evaluating each candidate and make systematic use of at least three evaluation devices, like interviews, references, background checks, etc.
Get the right people in the right seats.
If you think there might be a wrong ‘who’ on the bus, first give them the benefit of the doubt that they might be in the wrong seat. Whenever possible, provide a person the chance to prove themselves in a different seat before concluding that they’re the wrong person for your bus.
Get the wrong people off the bus.
Once you know you need to make a people change, be rigorous in the decision, but not ruthless in the implementation. Instead, help people exit with dignity and grace, so the vast majority of those who’ve left your bus have positive feelings about your organization. Autopsy your hiring mistakes and apply the lessons systematically to future hiring decisions.
Put ‘who’ before ‘what.’
When confronted with any problem or opportunity, shift the decision from a ‘what’ question (what should we do) to a ‘who’ decision (who would be the right person to take on this responsibility).
Once you fill your bus with the right people in the right seats, it becomes less a question of where you’re headed, rather how far you will go.
Lesson #26: Know your worth. Then add tax.
When we hear the phrase “self-worth,” it often brings physical appearance to mind. I don’t want to belittle that aspect, but that’s not all it’s about. Yes, you should know your worth and your beauty (it will keep you from compromising in relationships). But it’s deeper than that–especially in a business sense.
This statement, “Know your worth. Then add tax.” comes from a note that was given to me in a Christmas card from a friend that couldn’t have come at a better time. At that time, I struggled with offering discounted services to less than quality clients who were being sold by less than confident salespeople in my business. I had recognized this cycle and began addressing it. It was met with some resistance from my team, who, at the time, would say, “some work at a discount is better than no work.” There was a time that was true, but we were beyond that. We were stable on recurring revenue. We needed quality clients. Clients that were just as passionate about their growth as we were. We needed clients that understood they needed to trust the experts to help them reach the next level they couldn’t do on their own, for whatever reason that may have been.
In business, we all want to get the best price on the best product or service, and that’s fine. But the fact of the matter is that the best product and the best service aren’t always the best price. This is why, especially if you’re offering a superior product or service, you need to be confident in your abilities and pricing. Don’t allow people to bully you into discounted services. Quality clients and customers understand that quality products and services come at a price. They may try to haggle a bit, especially in the service industry, but if you have clear pricing on products and services you can deliver on, you’ll have an easier time standing by those rates.
While I’d like to sit here and tell you that you shouldn’t even entertain prospects that want to give you a difficult time about pricing, I know that’s not always a possibility, especially when you’re starting off.
Remember, you invested the time and resources to learn your industry. They did not. This is most likely why they need you. So, don’t be afraid to stand by the products and services you offer at a specific price. It’s easy to stand by your worth when you can recognize that what you’re offering is the value you bring to people’s lives. Remember all it has taken for you or your company to become capable of doing so.
Then, when you do want to offer a discount or even give something away, it’s because you wanted to do so, not because you were pressured into selling yourself short.
Lesson #27: Don’t listen to those in the cheap seats.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” – Theodore Roosevelt
I love Brene Brown’s take on this quote. When she brings up this quote in her book Daring Greatly, she talks about how there are millions of cheap seats in the world today. These seats are filled with people who will never once step foot in that arena; people who will never once put themselves out there but make it a full-time job to hurl criticism, judgment, and hateful things toward those who will live courageously. We have to get out of the habit of catching those things, dissecting them, and holding them close to our hearts. Let ’em drop. Don’t grab that stuff hurled from the cheap seats. Just let it fall to the ground. You don’t have to stomp or kick it. You simply have to step over it and keep going. You can’t take criticism from people who are not being brave with their lives.
The more you grow in life and business, the more people you’re going to encounter. The more people you meet, the more opinions you’ll have hurled at you regularly. You’re going to attract and repel people. You’ll attract like-minded people, clients, customers, and you will repel some who are very different. You can’t please everyone, and you should not try. What you should do, is give it your all, don’t be afraid to fail, when you do fail, learn from it, and keep going. Keep working towards being the best version of yourself; keep working to make the largest positive impact on your world that you can. Forget the remarks from the bystanders. Forget the comments from those watching from the outside looking in. Anybody can voice an opinion. No one can be you. No one can do what you do, how you do it. Take pride in that, and when you hear those critics in the cheap seats throw trash your way, leave it there. Don’t pick it up and study it. Don’t carry it around. Discard it and keep moving on.
Lesson #28: Have a clear vision.
Too often, I talk to people or potential clients who have a business idea that they can’t clearly articulate to me, making it difficult to understand how we can help them achieve their goals. Soundboarding and strategizing are essential steps in developing a clear vision.
I like the way Cameron Herold talks about vision in his book, Vivid Vision. If you have been bold enough in your ideas, this will have two effects: It will attract and repel others. Notice the use of the word ‘and’ in that sentence, rather than ‘or.’
A clear vision will both attract and repel people. This is a good thing! It will attract those who can get on board and repel those who cannot. Remember the lesson on going from Good to Great? A clear vision, or vivid vision, will help you identify the right people to be on the bus more quickly. Alternatively, if your vision is too small, too watered down, or too overdone, it can lead to mediocrity in those you bring on, in the execution of your ideas, and in your delivery to customers.
You have to understand that it’s a good thing to lose people because of your clear vision. They aren’t the right people to have in place. It makes room for the right people. It’s better to differentiate the right and wrong people to fulfill your vision on day one, rather than spending years trying to align them and forever trying to motivate them.
“Apart from you, no one in your organization knows with any certainty what it is you intend to make of the company you lead. And they can’t build it if they can’t see it. It’s your task to provide them with the means of seeing it. And if you don’t, we’re right back to the old tale of the blind men and the elephant.” – Cameron Herold
What are some ways you can make your vision for the future more vivid to those around you?