You know the old adage, "Don't live the same year over and over for 70+ years and call it a life"?
"the same year over and over again" ...
that's what most people do!
even when you tell yourself that you're using the downtime 'between years' to 'strategize' or come up with a plan of attack for 2019 ...
... at the end of the day, for most people out there, it's just another round of 'same old, same old'.
If everybody on my list were to respond whether 2018 was massively different (and better) than 2017 ...
... I'm pretty sure it'd be 99%: 'well mhmm, to be honest ... it was pretty much the same'.
And the reason ...
... has nothing to do with goals, goal-setting, strategizing, plans, will-power or any of that.
Instead: it's YOUR way of thinking.
Meaning: it's YOUR fault. Ouch!
If you don't think that's true (and perhaps Trump, Brexit, fate or one-legged snowy owls are the root cause of your situation), then you can stop reading.
Otherwise, here's a recipe for making the new year actually different from the old one:
A#1: Accept Responsibility
Yesterday, I had the great displeasure of listening to my sister drivel some total and utter bulls**t about not wanting to accept a job as an event-manager from a pharma-company, because ...
... "well, I don't believe in the Western approach to medicine, what we need is something more holistic".
Don't get me wrong, it's great to have ideals.
personally, I also think that a lot of the medical industry stinks ...
... but primarily so because WE as a society accept & shape it the way it is, not because the medical industry is run by immoral characters who are out to take over the world
(incidentally, my views are based on having actually worked in the medical industry for most of my corporate career, not something I've read online)
But, when I'm having to listen to someone whine most of the evening how tough things are financially ... and as a result her relationship suffers, she can't do for her kids what she wants to ...
... and then I hear that she could literally walk into that job, but no, it's not compatible with her holistic healing point of view, well f*** that for a laugh.
at the end of the day YOU are responsible for YOUR outcomes.
If you find yourself on an overcrowded airplane and people get bumped because the 'big bad airline' overbooked the flight ...
... remember: YOU booked a $19 flight across half a continent.
If your mobile phone customer service sucks ... well, YOU wanted the cheapest tariff.
Look at the choices and decisions YOU have made in your business:
- what 'cheap' tools did you buy that are now broken because the creators could never really provide proper customer support (because the margins just weren't there)
- where have YOU shifted responsibility to someone else's 'client getting' programme, instead of figuring out YOURSELF what works for YOUR market?
- where are you concluding that 'FB Ads' don't work, because you never stuck with it and figured out HOW to make it work for YOUR specific situation?
... the list goes on.
Here's my take:
If you don't like your lot, do something about it.
Only EVER whine about it if you really, truly, deep-down KNOW that it's NOT your fault!
(which - like it or not - is VERY RARELY the case)
Take responsibility for your choices and actions.
And that starts with the next point (which incidentally, also takes care of the few cases where you truly weren't at fault, where you had an accident, plain bad luck, etc, etc, etc)
A#2: Accept Reality
Reality rarely is as 'glossy' and fun as on TV
Or as portrayed on social media.
More often than not it sucks.
(if it helps: YOU are not the only one for whom it sucks!)
If you really want to make change, there's only one thing you can & must do:
Accept reality for what it is.
doesn't mean you have to like it.
But right now it is what it is. And that you have to accept.
Everything else is lying to yourself, and avoiding the real issue!
If you really don't like it, take action to change it.
if it's just a nuisance, and not essential to your progress ... well, f*** it:
accept it for what it is, quit complaining about it, and move on - focus your energy on the things you truly WANT to change.
"but I don't like living here, I really don't get on with the neighbours". (something I've heard a few times before...)
What can I say? It's a reality, and it's not a great reality. But there's ZERO point focusing ANY energy on not getting on with the neighbours (unless it's focused on improving that relationship of course) ...
... because that's energy taken away from making that 'moving to somewhere you like' happen.
Don't have clients breaking down the door demanding to do business with you?
That's annoying, and usually stressful. And often not easy to fix. (as Ryan Deiss says: it's simple, but not easy)
And then it's time to accept that right now you don't have enough clients.
So you can park those negative emotions, and get to work on getting some clients.
I've used the 'getting clients' on purpose, because
- this is a marketing blog, and I guess that's most entrepreneur's #1 question: how to get more clients, and
- it's the perfect introduction for step #3:
A#3: Accept Incompatibility
To this day I'm grateful to the people who 'tortured' me:
When I was 16, I worked as a programmer (<- introvert, likes working with machines) at a local medical company.
And one day, my colleagues thought it'd be fun to ask me to phone Eva and make an appointment for a future visit.
Here's what my brain was facing:
- Eva: pharma-rep, mid-20s, and stunningly beautiful. Me: 16 year old geek.
- Eva from Frankfurt (BIG city). Me: country-bumpkin from tiny village in the Black Forest
- Eva lively & outgoing. Me: did I mention introverted geek? Shy on top of that.
in other words: THE perfect recipe for a self-confidence/comfort-zone brain meltdown.
I did survive the phone call (probably lost 10% of my bodyweight in sweat though) ... and I am GRATEFUL to those ba***rds who 'made' me do it.
Just as I am GRATEFUL to Andi, my boss when (many years later) I joined a financial advice company.
He 'made' me make those phone-calls. Right there. With him next to me.
Every single 'newbie' in the office (as well as every single sales-professional I've trained and coached in our workshops since) came up with the same reasoning:
"I'll make those phone-calls later, when it's quiet".
No you don't. No they don't. No I don't:
'getting clients' has very little to do with your technique, your knowledge, or 'marketing' and so on.
Instead: it's ALL about your comfort zone.
And that comfort zone is almost always INCOMPATIBLE with what you WANT to do!
Your neocortex does all the planning & hoping & wishful thinking where you set big hairy audacious goals ...
... whilst your brainstem does exactly the opposite: it's unknown, and hence potentially unsafe.
Unsafe could mean death, so let's not do it.
So, sadly for you, sadly for me, sadly for the rest of mankind:
There are 2 distinct mechanisms in your brain, and they are 100% incompatible (at least when it comes to things like 'rejection', selling, client-attraction....)
At this point no, I'm now NOT going with what's usually done in the self-improvement/NLP circles:
I'm not telling you that things will only work out for those who REALLY want it (and everybody else doesn't 'really have it').
Fact is: if you haven't 'sold' before ... it's NOT going to be part of your comfort zone.
EVERY single sales-professional I've trained & coached went through the same process:
"ohh, don't worry, I'll make those phone-calls later"
Not because 'later' was going to be a better time ... but they didn't want to face whatever their brain tells them is going to happen (typically: 'fear of rejection')
So, the only thing you can do at this point is do the 2 'A's from above:
- accept the reality of your comfort zone being (still) too comfortable for 'full on client getting' (and absolutely ZERO point beating yourself up about it - it's natural, see above!)
- accept responsibility for what you've done so far. Which often enough is: attempt to build some magic 'marketing machine' so leads are so incredibly pre-qualified that they BEG you to help them ... with no selling required. Sorry, but you can't substitute away your fear of rejection with a 'marketing machine' ... if you suppress it here, it'll rear it's ugly head elsewhere!
- accept the reality that you don't have 'torrents' of clients (yet)
- accept that you don't have an automated marketing machine (yet)
- accept that you're not building a list (yet)
it is what it is. And now it's time to do something about it.
When you accept those things, you can stop wasting energy trying to figure out ways around the real issue ...
... and instead, get to step 4 of the AAAA formula, and go for a gentle, and respectful
... on your comfort zone & your fledgling business.
No, not taking 'massive action' (we all know where that leads: same year over and over again)
but gentle steps towards expanding that comfort zone.
gentle steps towards building lead-gen systems,
gentle steps towards having automated marketing-machines and funnels
gentle steps towards building a list, ...
If you only have a minute, watch what Arnold has to say at around 5mins (but the whole video is worth watching)
One step at a time, tiny improvements.
But consistently! Every day.
Here's the good news:
Marketing, especially online marketing is very fluid & dynamic. And it's based on human psychology, so it's super-unpredictable.
Meaning: if you're still figuring out what your clients REALLY want, what they REALLY respond to, why they want YOU to help them as opposed to someone else, then ...
... you do NOT need a nicely laid-out plan for the next 3 years
... you do NOT need crystal clarity on what your precise strategy is
... you do NOT need the perfect tech-setup with fancy automations, segmentation and so on.
Get a bare-bones system that does the basics you need right now:
- some content delivery (if you want to be really fancy)
and then focus all your energy on the one thing that matters:
figuring out what works (for you, your market, your audience), and what doesn't.
One gentle step at a time.
Is 2019 going to be 'same same' or different for you?
The steps are simple (and yes, not necessarily easy, especially that 'having a good, honest look in the mirror):
- Accept Responsibility for your past actions & choices.
- Accept Reality for what it is (so you can focus your energy on things you really want to change)
- Accept Incompatibility and the anxiety, fear of rejection & procrastination that comes with it. Then decide to challenge that brain-stem (in a gentle, non-threatening way;-)
- Attack gently, respectfully and consistently.
let me know below!