I hope you enjoyed last week’s conversation about business cards, poker chips, and the transformative message we can (and should) deliver to our prospects and clients. Several people even requested one of my poker chips
On to this week! I have seen much success from our current Practice Builder Academy members … and, unfortunately, much inertia. That’s why I’m asking the question: Are we where we want to be?
And if you’re new to the blog, welcome aboard. This is what we do!
First things first
Do you LOVE your work? It’s a question we hear often, even though it’s a relatively new question. I mean, do you remember anyone asking your parents that? The question has taken on more importance because we have more options today. And our answer is important. Why? Here’s what writer/entrepreneur James Altucher recently said:
If you can’t start with ‘love’ then everyone who does love will beat everyone who ‘likes’ or ‘hates.’ The first humans who crossed the arctic tundra from Siberia to Alaska in -60 degree temperatures had to love it. The rest stayed in the East Africa Savannah.
It takes hard work and dedication to migrate from the anonymous ranks of 5,000-10,000 full-time appraisers (you pick the number) to the inner circle of 20-30 or so who are known for what they know or do (Pratt, Hitchner, Mercer, Trugman, Fannon, Damodaran, et al.).
The thing is, there is no real barrier holding you back from joining that inner circle. Here’s how it’s done.
Master the craft
I recently read Steve Martin’s autobiography, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life. Here’s the opening paragraph: “I did stand-up comedy for eighteen years. Ten of those years were spent learning, four years were spent refining, and four were spent in wild success.” Many people think Martin was ALWAYS a wild success.
Even more interesting was that Martin got his start as a magician (around age 13 at Knott’s Berry Farm). I was amazed to read that he spent four months practicing/perfecting a particular card shuffle (the kind where the deck is never picked up off the table and each card interlaces with the next one). FOUR MONTHS. ONE CARD SHUFFLE.
I watched Season 1 of Chef’s Table, a Netflix program. Each episode profiled a chef and what it took for him/her to reach the pinnacle of success, including having their restaurants named one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. IN THE WORLD. The years of training … where they traveled to learn the next set of skills … the sacrifices they (and their families) endured to make progress … the endless hours of the restaurant business.
Join a group
Finally, getting to success – however we define that for ourselves– can be a lonely road if we go it alone. I had three or four colleagues who shared the passion (love) for BV work. Starting in the mid-90s, we “grew up” together. Twenty years later, we’re still together. This comradery-in-the-trade is not unusual. Altucher again …
Look at every literary, art, and business scene. People seldom get better as individuals. They get better as groups. The Beats: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and a dozen others. The programmers: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ted Leonsis, Paul Allen, Steve Wozniak and a dozen others all came out of the Homebrew Club. The art scene in the 50s: Jasper Johns, De Kooning, Pollack, etc. all lived on the SAME STREET in downtown NYC. YouTube, LinkedIn, Tesla, Palantir, and to some extent Facebook, and a dozen other companies came out of the so-called ‘PayPal mafia.’ All of these people could’ve tinkered by themselves. But humans are tribal mammals. We need to work with groups to improve. Find the best group, spend as much time with them, and as ‘a scene’ you become THE scene. You challenge each other, compete with each other, love each other’s work, become envious of each other, and ultimately take turns surpassing each other.
Turn these questions into an action plan
#1 – First and foremost: Do you love the BV work?
If not, the people who do will do whatever it takes to stand out … while those who don’t will only do what it takes to get by. If you’ve lost the spark, keep these words from Seth Godin in mind: “It’s easier to find the passion in something you are already doing than it is to start doing something new that you have a passion for.”
#2 – Are you mastering the trade or just the tricks of the trade?
If the latter, it’s time to go back and learn the BVFLS-equivalent of the magician’s card shuffle and the chef’s knife skills. Then pick apart all of your old reports and see where you can do better … and use the File Autopsy tool I talked about here.
#3 – Do you belong to a group?
As the research shows, you are the average of your five closest friends. As it relates to BVFLS work, who is challenging you … who is competing with you … who do you envy … who is making your better?
Let me know if I can help.
PS – I’m a fan of actionable ideas that move you forward, so I hope you find this content useful. If something resonates and you want to reach out directly, you can email me or schedule a call with me!
PPS – If you think we share common interests, connect with me on LinkedIn. If you like my blog, please recommend it to a colleague.