Updated: Aug 27, 2019
“I’ll do anything.” This is such an interesting phrase to me. As a business coach and copywriter, I hear it all the time:
-I’ll do anything to get my business going.
-I’ll do anything to transition out of my full time job.
-I’ll do anything to hit my target numbers.
-I’ll do anything to get out of the red.
Here’s what I’ve found...this is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves. When we say “anything”, most people recognize the unspoken “within reason”. I’m, of course, not going to do anything illegal or unethical. But when people say, “I’ll do anything” [within reason], I find that there are serious limits within that bold statement. And, what I find most is that people are:
a. Unwilling to be uncomfortable
b. They lack confidence and vision
Let’s start with the first...uncomfortable. Through coaching, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many people. I tend to work with small to midsize businesses. I enjoy the challenges that this niche offers. Many times, these individuals are transitioning out of a full time j.o.b. and just starting out on their own. This can be tough...I know, I did it! For me, I did some long term planning. I started in business, marketing to be exact, left for education, but knew education was probably not long term because of family situations, so I always held on to my marketing career. I did side jobs, wrote procedural manuals, designed websites and wrote copy, did volunteer work, you name it. But I wanted to stay current in the industry and continue to sharpen my skills. Two years ago, it was time for me to leave my job in education and I decided to make the transition from educator to full time copywriter. So, to compensate for a loss of full time income while I built my business, I started teaching online. I taught in the dead of night and at the break of dawn when no one should actually be awake and working. I taught kids in China, so 3am here in CST was 4pm Beijing time. It was brutal! But, it gave a source of income to hold me over until my full time copywriting business took off. I share this story with many because I did what I had to do to get what I wanted.
Do you know what most say? “You got up at 4am? I could never do that!” I used to be so surprised when someone would say that because other than being a little tired, it was a great gig. I loved it. I made decent money, stayed out of the red and had all day to build my business. But, my “why” was strong. I didn’t give a second thought to being uncomfortable for a couple of years to reach my business goals.
I have a good friend with very young children. She desperately wants to stay home with her babies. About 4 or 5 times a year, she messages me and asks about the side hustle I did during my transition. Every year, I tell her the same thing. And every time, she applies and then sends me a message saying there is no way she can get up that early. So her comfort is more important than the reward.
Why are we so afraid to be a little uncomfortable now to have what we desire later? We have become a society of immediate gratification. We believe that things should just happen without us being inconvenienced or having to change. Life doesn’t work that way!
I also find that people lack confidence and vision. When you are starting or running a business, this can be a killer. I recently worked with a client on a small copywriting project. I had quoted a much more aggressive plan, but his budget was small and he wanted to just dip his toes in the water. He was also afraid the plan would work and then he’d have more business than he could handle. Both valid concerns. We started small. But, in the process, we also had to work on his mindset.
We played a little game I call “What’s the worst that can happen?”.
-So, what if the floodgates burst and business pours in?
-What if you have to stay up a full 24 hours to fill orders?
-What if the investment in your business works?
-What if you are successful?
We worked through each of these questions. And really, what IS the worst that can happen? When we put our challenge or fear into perspective and realize we can overcome them, we realize that our fear is holding us back unnecessarily.
I have a friend who has been in and out of employment. I shared my LinkedIn guide with her. I share this with all of my clients. I told her to read it and I’d help her with her profile and set her up for success, but she had to do the work. She replied that she’s been on Linked in for 5 years and it’s never brought her any offers or even inquiries. I told her to read the book. She wasn’t optimizing her presence on LinkedIn. She said she was busy. She never read the book. It’s only a 16 page book. She refused to invest 30 minutes into herself to see if, possibly, there were some benefits that she didn’t recognize. In fact, she’s also someone who has seen me be successful on LinkedIn, yet she didn’t want to be inconvenienced, she was afraid it wouldn’t work and she’d be wasting time.
-What if 30 minutes could teach you something you don’t know?
-What if 30 minutes and some follow up work could help you find a job?
-How would it feel not to struggle financially?
-How would it feel to have a job that you felt good about?
Sometimes we have to take chances on things that may not be guaranteed. When I’m faced with an opportunity or presented with an idea that may take some investigating, I always ask myself four questions.
-Is the discomfort of this new endeavor temporary?
-Will the discomfort lead me to my goal?
-Are the challenges involved in this something I can overcome?
-If the discomfort does not lead to my goal, have I really lost anything?
Once I go through these questions, I am ready to make a decision. I did not love getting up at 4am, but it was temporary, led me to my goal and if it didn’t, well, I just had a little extra money in my pocket.
When faced with an idea or something new, we often have an immediate response of “no” and we try to justify why it is a bad idea. I challenge you to say “yes”. I challenge you to hear an idea, suggestion or opportunity and instead of thinking of all the reasons it won’t work or is not a good idea, come up with 10 positive thoughts about it, ask yourself these four questions and THEN come to a conclusion.
Pay attention to how your life changes when you make changes that come with temporary discomfort and that require you to play the “what if” game.
To your success.