Go Ahead: Change Your Socks

Making money online and off should be easy. And it is if you enjoy work—and know the rules.

The trouble with learning what to do is that most successful people do not know what it is they did that made them successful.

My observations while developing training and collateral materials for self-made millionaires for 12 years aroused the suspicion that they threw themselves so completely into their work, that when it became a huge success, they could not let up one bit out of fear it would crumble. They were controlling down to minutiae. In one case, the founder and president had to be forced out and an outsider brought in to save the company!

Artists occasionally fail to make a living at their art for similar reasons. They become too emotionally attached to their work. They overprice, or don’t promote largely out of attachment. Whether they simply want to keep their creation or enjoy the secondary gains of being a “starving artist,” they are invested in doing what they have always done, and doing it all themselves.

Lesson 1: You cannot succeed by yourself. At least business owners masquerade at building teams. Though that can contribute to delusions of grandeur. Face it: control freaks will not win in the end. Whether they die in loneliness or just never make it to the top, people who do not have a large team of mentors, friends, supporters, clients, coaches, or joint venturers are missing the easiest road to riches : people.

It’s not the person with the most toys who wins; it’s the person with the largest Rolodex!

Remember the best thing you learned as a four-year-old? Share! Share the work, the credit, the profit, the ideas, the burdens—and, if you can find a legitimate way to do it, the bills!

Lesson 2: Find out what works. A study out of UCLA on expertise corroborates what I saw in the millionaires I worked with. Experts were defined as people 10 or more years in their field and “at the top of their game.” The question was simple: How effectively could these experts communicate to up-and-comers the key points of their success?

The results were startling. The experts could communicate only 40% of what it was that contributed to their success. It sounds like a joke, but it isn’t—they didn’t know which 40%! In other words, 60% of what they said was essential wasn’t.

It reminds me of the old days of conventions and advancement awards. The emcee would say, “If anyone can tell you how to succeed in business, it is this gentleman. He has…(yada, yada, accomplishment enumeration).

“First of all,” the celebrated awardee would begin, “I want to thank God.” Then continuing, a bit tearfully, “I don’t know how I got where I am today.”

About that point, I wanted my $225 back! But it gets worse.

“If you just do what I’ve done, you can have the same success I’ve had.”

OK, bozo, you just told me you can’t tell me how you succeeded. So, I’m gonna imitate all of the weirdness you are in hopes of replicating the 40% that actually made a difference? Oops, there’s 60% that’s critical that’s still missing in this scenario…

Do ball players who do not change their socks throughout the World Series play better?

Superstition is no substitute for research and testing. What wants your product or service? What will they pay for it? How many will you have to sell to earn a living? How many will you have to sell to create wealth?

Lesson 3: Change what isn’t working. Have you sat through episodes of “The Apprentice” watching a project manager lose control of his or her team, and persist in doing the honorable thing? “I delegated the task, and now I will let them complete it. I’m not going back in to micromanage.”

How many millions of dollars has that cost various participants? Delegation is good up to a point, but the youth with his finger in the dike better have a big enough finger or the whole city will flood!

What could the project manager do with a failing team?

  1. step in and help
  2. ask for problem identification
  3. troubleshoot the problems together
  4. add more team members to that task
  5. change out team members—hey, it happens in the last inning of baseball games all the time, so no whining! Pulling the whole team down doesn’t win points with anyone!
  6. etc.

There are dozens of variations. The bottom line is, “Correct and continue.” Don’t keep doing what you’re doing if it isn’t working! (The classic definition of insanity.)

Even a rat running a maze for cheese will stop eventually if the cheese is no longer ever at a certain point. No so the idealistic human! No! We like to remember, sentimentally, the last time we had that cheese…gouda, wasn’t it? So mellow, so creamy, with just the faintest little bite, ahhh, de-lish! So, we’re stupider than rats when it comes to continuing to do things that no longer work. I know whereof I speak; though, I hope time will bear me out that I have changed my ways.

Lesson 4: Keep the end in mind. It’s easy to get caught up in the action steps of producing or performing and focus entirely on that action. But you know what the relationship of time to tasks is, right? Tasks will always expand to fill the time allotted them for completion.

If the world is waiting for your training, or art, or music or business opportunity, how dare you spend all your time sharpening your pencils and getting ready to get ready?

Hurry to deliver!

I’m not encouraging shoddy quality, but perfection is highly overrated and a big timewaster. Do the job well enough for now, and keep improving as you go along.

Yes, I believe in excellence. On the other side, contemplate this:

You’ve just won the Olympic marathon. As the crowds hang over the coliseum railings, stretching their fingers to touch the smallest part of their new global hero, you’re running a victory lap, proudly carrying the flag of your country. You want to give something back to the fans, so you reach out your other arm to high-five as many as you can on this last lap.

  • Do you slow down to slap each hand dead-center and give the most excellent eye contact and physical touch you can, or…
  • Do you keep running at the same pace, hand outstretched, touching hands or fingers on a constant sweep, seeing as many eyes as you can while you pass by?

I’m asking you to simply consider both sides. The race is not always to the swift; though, in business, it usually is! The first entity with the latest, greatest idea usually wins. Nor is the race always to the meticulous; though, quality is indeed important for long-term success.

Consider: are you doing what you are here to be doing? Or are you too busy?

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