After my last blog post about planning your escape from your current job, I received an email: “Greg, it sounds great to go after the life you want, but haven’t you ever heard the phrase, better safe than sorry?”
My emailer continued, “I’m, nervous about trying something new and leaving my safe, stable job where I know I have a steady income.”
I totally understand where that guy is coming from. We were taught from an early age that the “safe” thing to do is to get a “good” job at a “good” company with a good salary, health care plan, and sick leave and vacation policy. When you get that, hold on tight and don’t let go.
I get it, and I always tell people that to decrease your risk you should keep your day job while you begin working on your Passionate Purpose. Then, slowly transition to your new thing.
With that in mind, here are the problems I have with the idea of “Better Safe Than Sorry:”
1) It implies that if you play it safe you will never be sorry.
Is that true? I’ve gone the “safe” route a few times where I still regret it to this day. I’m sorry I played it safe. I missed out on some great stuff.
No one on his deathbed ever said, “I didn’t really enjoy my work. I never went after what I really wanted. Maybe I could have lived the extraordinary life of my dreams. But, better safe than sorry!”
Don’t you want more than a job you barely tolerate because you think you won’t get fired?
During the 2008 recession, the United States lost 8.7 million jobs. How many of the people who were let go thought their jobs were safe? I thought mine was. Boy, was I wrong. How about you?
But, Greg, the recession is over. “Good” jobs are safe again. Really? Hmm…here’s a report from CNBC:
“In the first four months of the year, employers said they would hand out 250,061 pink slips. That is the highest total for the January-to-April period since 2009.”
I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer. I’m a glass is half full kinda guy. But, I’m also realistic. You could lose your job today. There is no safe job anymore (unless you work for the government – then you’re more likely to die than be fired). So does it make sense to stay in a job you don’t like, or even hate, because – better safe than sorry?
I think it’s safer to follow your passionate purpose. You will enjoy your work and life more right away. Because you love what you do, you’ll keep getting better at it and improve your chances to generate more income regardless of what’s happening with our economy.
And you’ll have fewer regrets.
Are you fulfilling your Passionate Purpose with your current job?
Are you excited to get out of bed every morning?
Do you know that your life counts and that you matter?
Are you a success because you’re doing well financially, even if you don’t like your job?
Or, does your success come from using the gifts you were born with to make the most out of the purpose you were created for?
Is it time to start working on your Passionate Purpose today and create a plan to transition away from your current “safe” job?
Why we do something is vital to the level of motivation and persistence we give to it. It also figures prominently in determining how much enjoyment we get out of it. Sometimes we put out a lot of time and effort before we realize we’ve anchored it all to a “why” that doesn’t serve us very well.
I was reminded of this when my daughter was practicing the piano and working on a fairly difficult jazz piece. After a while she plopped down on the couch beside me, looking frustrated.
I asked her what was wrong and she said, “I want to impress people by playing this song, but it’s hard.”
Before I could stop myself, I laughed out loud. I reminded her that if it was easy, everyone would do it. But then we got to the more important point. Doing something to impress others will never truly satisfy. The feeling you get from it is hollow and won’t last. It also means you’re allowing others to determine your worth. Why would you want to do that?
We all know this, yet somehow the “impressive” trap can sneak up on us. My wife, Anne, admits how it got to her in the story of her two careers.
Her first degree is in finance. Anne had big plans to become a senior executive in the banking industry. In just her first few years out of school, she was well on her way as an assistant vice president in private banking.
But, then she started volunteering as a tutor for at risk students at an inner city elementary school. She loved helping the little girl who was assigned to her. After a while, Anne realized she enjoyed tutoring much more than she enjoyed banking. If she was going to be honest, she didn’t like her job at all.
Anne had thought about becoming a teacher earlier in her life, but she worried about what other people might say. “Anne, you’re a straight A student, why would you use that just to teach elementary school?”
She knew that people say they value teachers, but many think if you’re a teacher it’s because you can’t do anything else. Or, you just want your summers off. Anne knew that wasn’t true, but she was letting other people’s opinions decide her fate.
She finally admitted to herself that the main reason she chose to be a finance major and go into banking was to impress others. Anne wanted people to know she was smart. She wanted the prestigious job title. She didn’t want anyone patting her on the head telling her what a cute, little teacher she was.
Once she figured that out, it didn’t take long for her to rework her “why.” She wanted to help inspire and teach our children to make our future brighter. Anne went back to school and got her Masters in Education.
She has helped change the lives of countless children and just won the award for teacher of the year at her school. She gets great joy out of teaching! She found the “why” that motivates her.
The “whys” that truly motivate us for the long term, and for the best results, are intrinsic. It’s not about impressing someone, or making our parents/significant other/society happy.
It’s about creating the extraordinary life of our dreams. It’s about growing, learning, being challenged, and achieving. It’s about enjoying what we do, not just the results of what we do. It’s about being the masters of our fate and embracing that.
Most of all, it’s about transcending ourselves, making a difference, and living a life that matters.
“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.” –Daniel Pink
“My will shall shape the future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no one’s doing but my own. I am the force. I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice. My responsibility. Win or lose; only I hold the key to my destiny.”– Elaine Maxwell
In almost every presentation I give, I tell people that everyone can pursue their Passionate Purpose and live the extraordinary life of their dreams.
But last week I had someone come up to me and say, Greg, you don’t really believe that everyone can be super successful do you? (He obviously didn’t know me well, yet.)
I told him, “Yes, I am positive this can happen for everyone. I’ve seen so many people do it I know it’s true. It’s also very exciting for me to think of so many people tapping into and using their gifts to live a life that matters and makes a difference. What saddens me is I know how few ever will.”
The problem isn’t that everyone can’t, it’s that everyone won’t. And the biggest thing that holds people back is their mindset. Do you have the success mindset?
I am where I am in life because of my decisions, thoughts, and actions
My future is determined by the decisions, thoughts, and actions I begin to take right now, it’s not based on my past
Blaming circumstances or people does not help me become successful
What I focus on I get more of, so I will focus on what I want – not what I’m afraid of
My knowledge and abilities are not set in stone
I can learn anything I need to become more successful
The more I learn and grow, the more successful I become
If I serve enough people, I’ll be rewarded with everything I want
If I super-serve people, money comes easily, is good, and I will use it to do great things
Money isn’t the goal; it’s one of the outcomes of a great goal
For many people, those ideas don’t make sense. Society has beaten into their conscious and subconscious minds a negative, depressing philosophy about life. They don’t believe they can ever live the life of their dreams. They spend more time being worried and fearful than working on what they want and whom they can serve.
What are you focusing on? Whatever it is, you’ll get more of it. What you feed your conscious mind is what your subconscious mind continually focuses on. It doesn’t care if your focus is negative or positive. It will focus on either one. We can program our subconscious to focus on what we want by filling it with positive thoughts.
So why don’t we?
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” –Phil 4:8 NIV
I’m sure you’ve heard you reap what you sow. That’s true in more ways than just in actions like planting and harvesting, or hard work and rewards. It’s also in what you sow in your mind and what you sow in your heart.
If you never sow big dreams in your mind, how will you reap them? If you never sow wealth and success in your mind how will you reap it? If you never sow deep love in your mind how will you reap a great marriage and family?
There’s an old saying that seeing is believing. I agree with that, but there is more than one way to see. If you can see it in your mind so clearly that you believe it, then it’s just as real as seeing it in the physical world.
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
– Napoleon Hill
That’s an imperative for the success mindset. You need to train your brain to make what you want so real in your imagination that you believe it as much as if you saw it with your eyes. When you do that, you’re on your way.
If you aren’t an expert yet, check out my blog post: How to Become an Expert in Your Field. If you haven’t read that post, please read it before you continue with this one. I outline the steps to quickly become an expert in your field.
This post isn’t for anyone just pretending to be an expert, this is for the people who have put in the work to gain massive knowledge and experience in their field, and truly are experts.
Now, how do you position yourself as an expert? How do you let people know you really know your stuff? It’s time to display it.
1) If you haven’t already, it’s time to create your website/blog.
This is simple to do and is really a requirement if you want to be taken seriously. If you followed my earlier advice and blogged about your journey to becoming an expert, it’s now time to shift the focus of your blog to sharing your expertise with your audience.
Through your research and study you’ve discovered what your target market really needs. You know their problems and their pain. You have the answers for them. Focus your blog on that.
Ask for comments and interact with your audience. Give them what they want.
2) Guest blog and guest podcast for other experts in your field.
Blogging and podcasting can become a chore after a while. Most bloggers/podcasters enjoy having guests give them free content. This is a true win-win. The other blogger/podcaster gets some free content, and you get to build your brand and your expertise by having your content appear on another expert’s site.
The best way to do this is to read/listen and comment on a few blogs/podcasts that you enjoy. After doing that for a few months, reach out to the blogger/podcaster and ask if she would be up for having you guest blog or be a guest on her show.
Tip: It’s great to go after the big bloggers and podcasters, but many of them don’t allow guests to post, or want big names for interviews. Aiming at some of the lesser known but good blogs/podcasts might be the better way to go at first.
3) Write articles for a trade magazine or professional publication.
This is similar to guest blogging. You will still be trading your free content for exposure to their audience. Once you’re published, you can display this in an “As Featured In” area of your website. It’s a great way to continue to build your expertise and your brand.
You’d be surprised how many publications are looking for good, free content. You might be able to turn it into a recurring gig. That could lead to paid gigs and more opportunities as an expert in your field.
4) Create “How to” videos for YouTube
“How to” videos are super popular and a great way to show what you know. If you can solve someone’s problem in a short video, they will see you as an expert.
Make sure you tailor these to your target market.
Keep them short and simple – three to five minutes at the most
Let your personality shine through.
People want to see the real you, not an overproduced video.
Nothing says “expert” louder than writing a book about your field. For many people this sounds impossible. I get it. It took me a long time to believe I could write a book. Now that I have, I’m looking at writing a book a year.
Here’s how you can do it. Self publish your book so you won’t have to wait around for a publisher to choose you. You can do it even quicker if you make an ebook
I used Createspace and Kindle Direct Publishing to write my first book and ebook. It was easy and free. There are plenty of other sites that will help you self publish. Find the one that you like best.
Use your blog to write your book. The average non-fiction book is about 50,000 words. If you blog a 500 word post each weekday, that’s 10,000 words a month. You’ll have a book written in just five months. Even if you only blog three times a week, your book will be done in 9 months!
Of course, you’ll have to edit your posts to make them into a coherent book, but it’s a great way to repurpose your content.
6)Teach people you know “how to.”
Beyond making videos, go help someone. Start with a friend or family member. Ask your network who you might be able to help. You’ll start to be seen as the go to guy in your area. Ask for referrals from the people you help and start charging for your expertise.
Repurpose part of your book, blog, or videos and turn it into a 20 minute speech. Make sure it solves a problem for your target market. Entertain, inform, and give a couple of useable takeaways and you will be a hot commodity.
There are all kinds of networking, service, and civic groups that need guest speakers. Connect with the meeting planners and offer to speak for free. If you can give them a compelling description of your talk, most will be more than happy to have you. You can sell your book after the talk. Just make sure your speech has great content and isn’t 20 minutes of you trying to sell them something.
Take a step back and look at all you’ve learned and done in your field and your niche. Guess what? You’re a pretty darn good expert. Congratulations.
The best way to become successful is to serve other people. The best way to serve others is to share your expertise with them. So how do you become an expert? You can do it in less time than you think.
1) Determine what you want to be your expertise. It’s easier and faster to become an expert at something you’ve already been working on and that you enjoy doing. If you’re looking to become an expert in something totally new, you can do it; it’s just going to take longer.
This is where I advise finding your Passionate Purpose. Working to become an expert at that will lead you to be more successful, fulfilled, and joyful, than simply looking to become an expert in something you think will make you money.
Don’t get me wrong, making money is great, but it’s super great if you’re making money doing something you’re passionate about. Otherwise, it can turn into a pair of golden handcuffs.
2) Go one step further and determine in what niche you want your expertise.
3) Go deeper still and define the market you want to target your expertise to.
Keep this target market in mind as you’re becoming an expert. What do they want to know? What problems can you help them solve? What pain can you take away, and what pleasure can you help provide, with your expertise?
4) Determine the keywords that define your expertise.
Use those keywords to:
Set up Google Alerts – this will allow you to receive daily updates on the latest news in your field and niche
Search iTunes for related podcasts – listen to the most popular ones
Search YouTube for related “how to” videos – watch the most popular ones
Search for blogs – read the most popular ones
Search for seminars and online courses – use the ones that hit your target the best
5) Read one, best selling book a month on your subject.
It amazes me how many times I hear people brag about not reading books. Why is that now a badge of honor? You can get more out of a great book than you can out of a college course, a seminar, or one video – and for a lot less money.
Read these books to use the knowledge that is in them. I read books in my field as if I’m going to have a final exam.
I read like this:
Frist time through I just read the book
Second time through I highlight what resonates with me and make notes
Third time through I focus on my highlights
Fourth time through I start implementing the ideas into my life
If you read one book a month, in just one year you’ll know more about the field than 99% of the people you come in contact with.
Bonus: If you’re a great reader/studier, you can supercharge this be reading one book a week.
6) Start blogging about your quest to become an expert right away.
People love to see how other people do it. They love getting a behind the scenes view to your struggles and your successes. The more honest you are about the obstacles you’ve hit, the better.
Blogging about this will help you improve your writing skills, lock in the new information you’re learning, and build your brand.
Google “how to start a blog.” It’s very easy and cheap to do. For around ten bucks you can buy a domain name, and for another ten a month you can have your site hosted. Use a free theme on WordPress and you’re ready to roll.
7) Use what your learning in the real world.
It’s one thing to know theories, facts, and how to do something. It’s very different to actually do it. Your story of using your expertise in your life will carry more weight with most people than any letters after your name.
Greg, that idea about finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose sounds great, but haven’t you heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? You have to take care of the basics befor you go after self actualization. Once I’m a success, then I’ll worry about my purpose.
I’m a big believer in Maslow’s theory. If you don’t have anything to eat or a place to live, you’re probably not as concerned about going to a museum to look at a piece of art. I get it.
But, I think finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose helps you get everything else you need to live – not just to live better.
Most people have heard of Viktor Frankl’s classic, Man’s Search for Meaning. (If you’ve never read it, start reading it today.) He gives his account of what it was like to be in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII, and then he turns to the importance of purpose.
Frankl found that if a prisoner had no purpose left in life – if he saw no hope – he was doomed. If, however, a prisoner saw a purpose in life he could cling to, his chances of survival dramatically improved.
Research in some of the poorest places in the world has supported the idea that a strong sense of purpose keeps people going in the direst of conditions. In many cases, it helps people live happy, healthy lives where we would think there would be no hope.
People living in third world countries have said their Passionate Purpose is to:
Help my family survive.
Educate the children in my village so they will have more opportunities.
Spread happiness to everyone I meet.
Get my village clean drinking water.
Be able to move my family to a better place where we will all be safe.
These purposes keep them motivated and inspired to live a life with meaning -to live a life that makes a difference.
In fact, finding and pursuing a Passionate Purpose may be more important before you become successful. It’s what gets you up when you really want to stay in bed. It’s what gives you optimism when your circumstances can’t justify it. It’s what gives you courage to face the tough situations. And, it’s what let’s you enjoy this life, when others would wallow in depression.
My belief is that finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose is at every level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs scale. Regardless of where we live, or how much money we make, to live our best lives we need it in everything we do.
The following is a rough transcript of the podcast (except for my interview):
Today we’re going to hit on the idea of finding and pursuing your passionate purpose, how that makes a difference in the world.
Then we’re going to talk about how much habits impact our lives and how to get rid of the bad ones and create new ones.
And we’ll end with an encouraging message to go for the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Ready? Let’s GO!
We’re all diff, but some things are universal. You want to matter, count, and make a difference. You want to live a life of value and significance.
God made us that way. You want to live intentionally, with purpose and passion.
How do we do that? We have to find our passionate purposes in every part of our lives. We have to take the gifts we were given and increase them and use them to help and serve others.
When we do that, everyone wins. In our relationships, family, work, finances, faith. It all gets better when we’re doing what we were brought here to do.
I love seeing this in people’s lives:
We had family movie night at the Knapp house over the weekend and we watched Eddie the Eagle. It’s a feel good comedy based on the true story of Michael Eddie Edwards.
What I loved about the film was the message on the importance of a Passionate Purpose.
Eddie had knee problems as a child and had to wear a leg brace. The doctors told him he should give up on sports. His father told him he would never be an athlete.
But, when Eddie was little he read a book about great moments in Olympic history. From that point on he was determined to become an Olympian, have his moment, and prove everyone wrong.
He had a passionate purpose and he had a strong why that supported it.
He tried a lot of different sports and none seemed promising. He had spent years trying to get on the British Olympic team in downhill skiing, but couldn’t quite make it. Most people would have given up.
His passionate purpose continued to drive him.
Eddie figured out that no one had been a ski jumper for Britain since 1929 and there were no qualifying distances to make the team. (However, the Brits decided to rewrite the rules and set up a qualifying distance.)
He convinced an old, drunk ski jumper to coach him. Using his own money, and any he could borrow, Eddie trained for a year and made the Olympic team.
Not only had his passionate purpose turned him into a decent ski jumper it also gave his coach a purpose to get sober and do something with his life.
A strong purpose can change more than just your life. What strong purpose is motivating you to great things in your life?
If you don’t have one right now, it’s time to find one.
Greg, Can I Really Get the Life You Want? Yes! If…
You’re excited about the idea of finding and pursuing your passionate purpose. You’ve visited a few websites about it, watched some videos, and maybe even read a book about how to do it. You’ve been dreaming about what your best life would look like.
But…nothing’s changed. You aren’t taking action. Five years ago you were in the same situation and a year from now?
–Amelia Earhart said, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”
If you read my blog, social media posts and book, you know I’m a super positive, encouraging, optimistic guy. (And humble!)
But, let’s get real here, ya’ll. Tough love time. IF you really want to live an extraordinary life where you pursue your Passionate Purpose, I can’t sugar coat this.
If you have thought about it – or tried to do it – before and failed, you’ve made excuses.
Here are some that I’ve heard (and used myself from time to time).
Only the lucky few get to do that
I’m not rich enough
I’m afraid I’ll fail
I don’t have the right connections
I’m not a genius
I’m afraid I’ll lose all my money
You have to be really talented to do that
I don’t know how to do it
I’m afraid I’ll get divorced over it
I don’t want to sacrifice my wife/husband/kids/relationships to do that
I’m not educated enough
Now’s not the right time
It’s too hard
I won’t make enough money to live on if I do that
I’m not good enough
I don’t deserve it
People from my family don’t do that
It’s selfish and greedy to want to do that
I don’t have enough time to do everything I would need to do
I’ll do it someday
Those are just some of the excuses I’ve heard to make people feel better about giving up on their dreams. I’m sure you could help me come up with more. Some of these concerns are real. I don’t want to suggest that going after what you really want is easy and requires no sacrifice. That’s just dreaming.
But, if you really want to pursue your Passionate Purpose and go after that extraordinary life, you have got to cowboy up for a serious ride.
Do you really want to look back on your life and list the excuses why you never tried? Do you want to use your children, spouse and friends as human shields to protect you from your fears of going for something great? Do you really believe that ALL successful people are divorced, greedy, horrible human beings who sacrificed all their values to get where they are in life?
Am I going to stop talking in questions? Yes. Right now.
The reason you aren’t taking action and going after this isn’t because you don’t have talent—nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. It’s not because you aren’t smart enough, don’t know the right people, or don’t have enough money to get started. It’s not because you don’t have enough time. We all have the same 24 hours in each day.
Look, all the excuses really boil down to one. Fear.
Change is scary. All those excuses we listed create fear. Your mind is screaming at you to avoid fear and risk. Subconsciously, your brain is telling you that you get more out of not changing than you think you would get out of changing.
“But, I really want to change. What? Your actions are so loud I can’t hear what you’re saying.” — Greg Knapp
IF you really want this, it’s time to convince yourself these aren’t just wants, they are needs.
Time to convince yourself that the fear and pain that always comes with change is worth it for the chance to live the extraordinary life of your dreams.
Time to convince yourself that NOT changing is risky, too. Imagine living your whole life and NEVER going for what you could have had!
If you are tired of just getting by and letting days, months, and years slip past without achieving what you know you were put on this earth by your Creator to do, then now is the time.
Get your mindset right.
Understand fear creeps in but can be handled.
Determine what you want.
Set your course.
How much longer will you wait?
Another thing that can hold us back is our habits. So much of what we do habitual. We try to change and we fall back to old habits.
We can use habits to our advantage if we can create new, good ones that keep us on course to live out our Passionate Purpose intentionally.
Charles Duhigg has written a great book about this, called, The Power of Habit- Why we do what we do in life and business, and he’s joining me now on Your Passionate Purpose. Charles, how are you?
I want to encourage you that you can find and pursue your passionate purposes in every part of your life. God gave you gifts and talents that he wants you to grow and use for His glory, to serve people and to live an abundant life.
Steven Covey said, “Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment”
The world needs what you have to offer. I’ll see you tomorrow.
It’s a lot easier to pursue your Passionate Purpose when you have someone on your side, encouragins you, helping you, and holding you accountable.
Greg, is this going to be a post about having an accountability partner? That’s an old, boring idea. Come on, man.
Hang on a second. You’re right that it’s an old idea, but here’s a question for you: Do you have an accountability partner who’s helping you achieve your most important goal right now?
Don’t feel bad, most of us don’t. We all know it’s a good idea, but most of us never follow through with it. Some of us start off with an accountability partner and then over a few weeks or months, we drift until the idea fades.
The times I have stuck with an accountability partner have paid huge dividends for me. I used one to get serious about working out and I used one to write my first book. Anytime I felt like skipping a workout, or not working on my book, I knew I would have to answer to my partner. I also knew I’d be letting him down.
That pushed me and kept me going. Better yet, the encouragement I got from my partner for all my hard work really inspired me.
I even discovered something super cool about having an accountability partner. When you help someone else achieve their goals, that helps you, too. It makes you feel great, and it gives you extra energy and incentive to keep going after what you really want.
Ok, Greg, you’ve sold me. So, how do I get – and keep – a partner? And how do we hold each other accountable in an encouraging way?
First, you need to get 100% clear on exactly what you want and why you want it.
Write that down.
When will you do “x” by?
How will you know you’ve done it?
Write that down.
Who will you choose as your accountability partner? It should be someone who shares your desire for an extraordinary life, someone who will support you in your efforts and kick you in the butt when you need it.
Be careful not to get someone who really doesn’t think you’re going to achieve your goal. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I’ve seen people set themselves up for failure that way.
Search for someone you look up to, who has a reputation for doing what he says, and for following through.
I find the best accountability partners are people who want you to hold them accountable for goals they’re working on in their life as well. When you encourage each other and hold each other accountable, great things happen.
If you can find someone who has a goal very similar to yours, that’s even better. I have found that it’s often better to find someone who isn’t a family member or a super close friend. Sometimes, when we’re that close, we don’t feel comfortable pushing each other.
Is there someone in your circle of friends at church, work, or in the neighborhood you would feel comfortable working with?
Get an accountability partner today or tomorrow. Don’t wait.
Schedule a time once a week for an accountability phone call and half way through the week exchange an accountability email.
The content of the call and the email is simple. Ask each other:
What did you say you would do this week?
What work have you done on that?
What adjustments do you need to make to improve your progress?
What can I do to help you?
Encourage each other
Celebrate mini successes
Remind each other how far you’ve come
Support each other on the “why” behind your goals.
You figured out your Passionate Purpose. You have a powerful “what,” that you really want. You have a compelling “why” that drives you. You have goals and action plans that support all of that.
Now, what can really supercharge your success?
I love what Steve Martin has to say about it. He was on the Charlie Rose show and was asked his advice for aspiring actors and comedians. Martin’s answer was not what Rose expected.
“Nobody ever takes note of (my advice), because it’s not the answer they wanted to hear. What they want to hear is ‘Here’s how you get an agent, here’s how you write a script,’ . . . but I always say, ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’ If somebody’s thinking, ‘How can I be really good?’ people are going to come to you.”
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” –Steve Martin
That’s fantastic advice. Yes, a business plan is important. A marketing plan is important. A million things are important. But the best thing you can do to reach a level of success you’ve only dreamed of is to become so good they can’t ignore you.
What are you doing to become world class at your Passionate Purpose? If that’s not one of your goals, it needs to be.
We should be constantly learning and growing. Now, that doesn’t mean we read a book every night, listen to a podcast everyday and watch a Ted talk every afternoon at lunch. (Remember the problem with information overload we discussed earlier on day 14 Learn Less, More – Know Can Do. )
It means that every day you should be working on your craft, idea, book, business, etc. You should be learning and studying the best ways to be so good they can’t ignore you.
Part of that learning is repetition, repetition, repetition.
Learn the most important things about your Passionate Purpose so well that you don’t even have to think about them anymore. Make them automatic for you.
That allows you to add even more to what you know and do. That allows you to be creative and innovative. It allows you to come up with ideas in your field that no one else has ever done before. Or, it allows you to do them at such a high level that most people can’t keep up with you.
I played basketball in high school. The first year I made the team, I didn’t play my best. I was learning the playbook and there was a lot to learn. I was the point guard, so I needed to know where everyone was supposed to go for each play we ran.
We had a 40 series, a 20 series, plays for zone coverage, plays for man to man coverage, plays for full court press, etc. I was so worried about running the plays correctly, that I couldn’t really “play basketball.”
But, after a year and a summer in the system, I had the plays down cold for my second season. I no longer had to think about the plays. They were automatic. So, I was able to focus on the game. The plays were just the background to the opportunities I saw to pass, set picks, and shoot.
That’s when I became a creative basketball player again. That’s when I became so good coach couldn’t ignore me. That’s when I got some playing time.
How can you do that with your Passionate Purpose?
1) Research through Google, books, podcasts, blogs, videos, and seminars that can help you get the knowledge to improve your skills.
2) Use the Know Can Do method to really master the best techniques, instead of superficially learn a bunch of ideas. Learn Less, More. (See previous post for more.)
3) Use spaced repetition, repetition, repetition to learn it so well it becomes automatic.
4) Use the new techniques in your daily work. Integrate them into your life.
That struck a chord with me. When my dad and I were getting along well and had a good father/son relationship, I hung on his every word. I wanted to be like him. When our relationship was strained, I turned to my friends for guidance on how to live and what to do.
The speaker told us how he had a very tough time in school. At 13, he was tall and sickly thin – so thin he couldn’t even play sports. He also had horrible acne with pimples as big as nickels.
Kids can be mean and every day at school was misery. But more mornings than not, his mother would stop him at the door, as he was about to leave, look him in the eye and say, “I know it’s hard for you right now. But I want you to know that I believe in you. I love you. God loves you, and he has big things planned for you.”
Because he had a great relationship with his mother, her words had great influence on him. They carried him through the tough days. Later in life those words rang in his ears as he started to write the first of 24 books. They encouraged him as he preached to 8,000 people on the steps of our nation’s capital.
Her relationship with her son gave her great power and influence with him.
I think it’s the same for every part of our lives. Our power is derived from the relationships we have with people, not from our title or perceived power.
We’ve all seen the boss who has very little influence with his employees because he has a horrible relationship with them. He can fire them, but he can’t get them to do their best for him.
How about the politician who becomes known for corruption and lying? Who wants to continue to volunteer to help her win re-election?
But, when your family, friends, coworkers, and followers know you care about them – when you have invested in deep relationships with them – they are willing to run through brick walls for you.
You matter to them. And they matter to you.
True, caring, deep relationships give you great power and influence.
How can you grow your most important relationships to have more power for good than you’ve ever imagined?