The fast track to success! We must all want it. There are so many blogs, articles, email campaigns and other social media messages about the 10 things successful people do before breakfast, the 6 essential qualities of successful people, 7 ways to earn $1 million in 30 days, how to be an overnight success in 7 days … the list goes on.
Quite frankly, I’m bored with it. I’m tired of being sold the quick (superficial) fix when I really know that anything worthwhile takes time to put down the foundation and build on it. We all know the quick fix is just a bandaid job and only takes away the immediate pain of uncertainty and fear. So why do we keep buying the message?
Backtrack to more than 20 years ago. I was participating in a personal development programme run by Robert Kiyosaki. You may remember the programmes: “Money and You” and its second level “Creating Wealth”. One of the exercises was called the 20 ‘yard’ game and involved a set of coits. The further back we stood from the throwing line, the more points we would get for a successful throw. Of course, the majority of people went to 20 yards or further away from the throwing line and started wildly tossing the coit. If they were lucky, 1 in 20 landed successfully amidst much cheering. Others stood at the throw line a mere foot away from the pole we had to hook the coit over. They were far more successful. However, each successful throw was worth much less to allow for the lower level of risk. Then there were the smart ones – the ones who freely interpret the rules – who lay their bodies along the line with their head behind the throwing line and dropped the coit over the pole over and over and over again. It was such a lesson for me. I was one of those who went to the 20 yard line to make the big killing. When it came time to tally the scores, of course, the big winners were those who lay on the line and dropped the coit over the pole over and over again.
Did I learn a lesson from that? Intellectually yes. But something got lost between the intellectual understanding that many small wins create a strong outcome and the way I approached business.
I’ve been in business for myself (or created my own job, depending on how you look at it) for many years and when I look back on some of my choices, I see a pattern of going after the shiny new objects. Yet, when I think about that further, it’s not the desire for shiny new objects that waylaid me . It was that I expected to be successful quickly – after all it seemed others were – so that when it didn’t happen for me, I took it as a sign I wasn’t in the right space and moved onto the next business opportunity. I walked away from personal branding 20 years ago. I left values and culture as critical success factors for strategy behind about 15 years ago. I abandoned Purpose, high performance in organisations, leaders and individuals along the way. Fortunately, these areas all come together under my consulting business Purpose to Profit – creating high performing organisations and people – so the knowledge and experience isn’t lost.
Why do we keep buying the message? Perhaps because we want it to be easy. Maybe we think that if it’s hard and we don’t succeed immediately, it’s a clear signal to others that we aren’t good enough; that there’s something faulty about us.
Perhaps its because media loves drama and all we hear is about the overnight success, not the 10 years it took the business or individual to get there! Or we hear about the win, not the 50 failures that took place first.
Regardless of the reason, we don’t want to go through the pain of not succeeding before we do. We don’t want to ask ourselves the tough questions such as “Do I have what it takes to be successful in this area?” or “Where do I fit in? Where can I add value?”
These questions are part of the wonderful journey we go on. My clients will remember an expression I used to use all the time – perhaps to explain my own journey. ‘Being in your own business is the best (read toughest) personal development programme you can ever go on’. We come face to face with our own limitations. I know it’s tough. I’ve been there and still am from time to time. Yet it is so worthwhile.
In the process of getting to truly see ourselves and the value we bring to the table, we let go of limiting and distorted beliefs about who we are and how worthy we are. We let go of perfection. We have to! It’s not sustainable.
There is no quick fix to this. And think, if it all happened in the 7 days promised, would you be the same great human being? Would you have compassion for others on their journey? Would you be curious rather than judgemental in seeking to understand how others see the world and the world of business? I bet the answer is no.
Has it been worth it? I’d love to hear your experience.