It’s Never Too Late to Re-Learn Important Stuff

March 20, 2014 |

It’s been a while since I sent this newsletter.

In fact, even I was surprised to discover the last issue was last June!

Instead I’ve been sharing ideas and resources largely through short blog posts.

Today I felt tugged to return to my roots.

Roots that began when I published the first Changing Course newsletter way back in 1995.

(Okay now I feel old!)

cokievalThis is Cokie and me in the early days.

Cokie was probably three-years-old in this picture. Now he’s 15.

At least I can still see and hear. Cokie… not so much. But gratefully the old guy is hanging on.

A lot has happened since 1995. Heck, a lot’s happened since my last newsletter!

Over the last few months I’ve had opportunities to re-learn two important lessons.

Lessons that can help you realize your own dream of working at what you love, living life on purpose, and following your own road.

Know When Good Enough Is Good Enough

Is chronic perfectionism killing your dream?

Are you waiting for everything to be absolutely perfect before you launch your great idea… your small business… your new LIFE?

Maybe you want to start a blog or write a book or give motivational talks. But instead you endlessly tinker and tweak and adjust, making sure everything is just so… but never begin.

Trust me I’ve been there.

Over the years though, I’ve learned that all my high-minded notions of “quality standards” and “getting it right” really just equaled paralysis.

On the whole, the male entrepreneurs I know operate from a very different definition of quality. The mantra repeated by multi-millionaire speakers at the numerous marketing seminars I’ve attended always comes down to some variation of this:

“You don’t have to get it right you just have to get it going.”

One marketing guru went even further telling procrastinating perfectionists that, “Half ass is better than no ass.”

His wording may be crass but the fundamental truth remains:

If you wait for everything to be perfect you’ll never act.

Whether it’s a product, a service, or an idea, you have to put version one out there, get some feedback, improve on it, and then create a new and improved version from there.

You can always course correct as you go.

But at some point you must decide it really is good enough.

It’s a lesson I relearned just last week while recording a presentation.

I spent the better part of a day doing dry runs before finally hitting the dreaded “Record” button.

Everything was going great until around the 35 minute mark, and I coughed.

Could I have stopped and re-recorded the whole thing? Yup.

And if someone had hired me to create the video I would have.

But this was a free video I produced for a select group of people who want to learn more about an upcoming training program on how to get paid to brainstorm.

So instead I kept going.

Earlier in my entrepreneurial journey I would have been compelled to make it perfect.

Instead I chose to think most viewers would forgive the cough.

And to recognize instead the considerable effort I put into finding statistics about the boom in the numbers of people embracing self-employment and the examples of creative business ideas.

Plus the entire second half of the video is basically a free marketing lesson.

Lessons I knew this audience could use to launch or to grow a business regardless of whether they ultimately sign up to train with me or not.

So yes, I coughed. And guess what? Life went on.

Don’t Get Too Wedded to Your Dream

In October I realized a long-held dream of getting onto Oprah’s radar when I was interviewed for O magazine on how to feel more confidence.

omagazineWhen the issue finally came out I was so excited I babbled to the cashier, the other customers at the newsstand, truly anyone with a pulse – “I’m in this magazine!!!”

As honored as I was, in all honestly, my real dream was to be a guest on Oprah’s TV show.

But the show ended its 25 year run a mere two months after my book came out. Talk about a near miss.

What I learned from this experience is that people don’t fail to achieve a dream.

The failure is giving up when things don’t turn out the way we imagined.

I’ve had plenty of clients who fantasized about owning a bed and breakfast, but they didn’t have the money to buy their own place.

Happily, some discovered it much more satisfying (and less stressful) to have B&B owners who need a break to pay them to be bed and breakfast sitters instead.

Others realized that the part they really liked was the idea of decorating the place. Washing sheets and making breakfast at 6am… not so much. So they pursued decorating instead.

As the Rolling Stones reminded us, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might get what you need.”