There are facts and then there is reality. The fact is that other people are walking around with knowledge and wisdom that can save you years of pain and heartache. The reality is that you will likely not listen or even ask. Sure, you may think you will, but if you have not experienced the failures of life, then pride can blind all of us. We learn the hard way by failure.
Now failure is not necessarily bad. It’s life’s way of giving us feedback on what works and what does not. And it is typically how we truly learn best.
You can always play it safe. Find a nice niche, make a comfortable living and live in desperate mediocrity. Don’t take it to the next level. Avoid people that challenge your thinking. Put it on cruise control. It’s a form of failure that has its own consequences over time.
But I think you may be wanting more in your business. And if you do, here are some thoughts to add to your wisdom arsenal and save you 5 years of failure.
1. Build Knowledge Slowly
Yes, you can access all the information you need at your fingertips. But knowing a subject deeply is far different than dabbling in jargon.
When you have spent a great amount of time in an area, you have built up assets that will be hard to match in another endeavor. If you are frustrated, consider pivoting and doing something slightly different around your career assets rather than doing something rash like pursuing a passion that is totally unrelated. Cal Newport does a great job explaining with his thesis of work in his book.
2. Don’t Automate Too Early
Part of building mastery is sticking around longer than you might feel comfortable. This might be especially true if you tend to be a low detail person.
Doing the work that might be manual at first and for a long time helps you understand all the hidden nuances and interrelationship of a system. It makes it far easier to hand off later or automate with a system. You know what you want with clarity and purpose because you paid the price in the precision craftsmanship of manual work.
The manual approach teaches you things to avoid and helps you take smaller risks that add up to clearer requirements later for employees and systems.
3. Think About Becoming Valuable
The money is a side effect of your value. If you keep focusing on making money, then you are focusing on the derivative rather than the source.
Building relationships and becoming extremely valuable is the hard work that produces rewards. Making a sale at the cost of integrity or trying to beat out someone on price because you can’t raise your value perception will only sidetrack you. It puts you in the rat race of failure.
The real question needs to always remain:
“In this world of ridiculous choice, how can I be extremely valuable to others?“
In that focal point is the answer to where you should spend your time and energy. Other things matter less.
5 Years can pass pretty quickly. And even if you are ten degrees off from where you should be heading, the further out you go, the wider the chasm between success and failure.
Save the time and headaches. Be wise while you are younger instead. It may mean getting out of your own way, letting go of pride or taking the long way rather than shortcuts.
But noone said it would be easy.