Looking back, I assume I got this this attitude from my dad, who spent his career in the military and with that, came a strong sense of discipline and a do better than average attitude. He taught me that being very good at something takes both consistent effort and the ability to be prepared to deal with pressure and hardship.
Just Because It Worked Back Then…
The environment today compared to back then is dramatically different, and if you are not prepared, you will not only be lost but you will be equally irrelevant.
There is no hidden reason for being irrelevant. Being irrelevant is simply being lazy! It requires the opposite of effort and work. It is a simple decision to follow from the back, go with the flow, and accepting the norm.
In thriving times you may sneak under the umbrella and walk through the rain unexposed for a while, but don’t be fooled because you will eventually find yourself out there with the raining pouring down on you, and trying to find a nice dry spot will be nearly impossible to find.
So what should you do? Well first, you should get a little perspective on two of the things that are happening right now in America, one is obvious, one is not:
In a tough economy 2 things happen;
1) WHAT YOU MAY ALREADY KNOW– A ton of talented people and businesses are being led to the slaughter because the valley of despair is too steep for them to survive. Perfectly talented people are having to settle for situations that are far below their skill and experience level. Businesses that need more time to evolve their financial stability get swept away because of a lack of cash.
2) WHAT YOU MAY HAVE OVERLOOKED- In times like these, there is also an underlying attitude of extreme self improvement and personal innovation. As you’ve heard before, bad economies are a prelude and appetizer to a main course of success that some say rivals the great feasts of kings after a battle.
So what separates victim from King? Quite simply it is the choice of the path you choose to take. CHOICE. Much like The Matrix, there are two pills here, the blue or the red. The difference is there is no guess work involved. You know the right thing to do as much as you know the lazy thing to do. Unfortunately, most of us pick the latter.
Being Good & Getting Good
Some people might say that being good is still not enough in today’s tornado of faster, better, and stronger, but being good is still staying above the fray– and only a few reach the stratosphere of greatness.
The reality is that the price of entry for businesses and entrepreneurs today is that you must be good. To survive, however, you must be great. It used to be that if you had a decent product or service, you could make a living. Today that just comes up short–way short!
Nobody has the patience anymore to help you grow your business like in the old days. It is imperative that what you offer is effective out of the gate, and you must continuosly improve its utility every day to create the differentiation from the competition that you need.
We see the fall of big companies all the time because there are alternatives and more convenient companies popping up weekly. So, if they’re vulnerable then you are most certainly exposed– with much less money to maintain a stronghold.
So what is the answer? How do we differentiate ourselves from the competition?
Building a Personal Narrative
Obviously, credentials and skills count towards how people view you, and eventually attach value to you, but your narrative is what will leave a lasting impression with your audience. The question(s) becomes what do you symbolically represent as a person or business? … What gives you the authority to tell people what to do?
Suze Orman, Jim Cramer and Tony Robbins are people that have built strong personal narratives-personal storylines. All three operate in overcrowed marketplaces of personal finance, personal investing and personal development. But why do they standout?
First I’ll tell you what it’s not – It’s not their skill or credentials, because there are many people in those industries that have the same or in some cases more credentials… It is because they have developed personal storylines that connect to the audience, something that takes them far beyond what is written on their resumes.
Key Point: Build a personal storyline that represents the idea you are trying to communicate and that is relatable to your audience.
We know that giving up is not an option. We know pain is part of the process. We know there will be some failures along the way- but more importantly, we know giving up will take the breath out of dreams, and we also know that giving up is the only time that we truly fail.
Being skilled is absolutely something you should keep sharp and serrated, but if you want to get noticed and stay noticed, you have to develop your personal storyline. A master-craftsman understands it may take his entire life to reach the expertise he desires, but even still at the very end, he (or she) could always have learned more!
Being very good should be an act of perpetual fulfillment. To quote the Most interesting man in the world– “stay thirsty my friend.”
Knowledge without application- means nothing. Test, fail and adjust- then repeat!
Average can lead to failure which is something that scares me to death– and it should scare you too. Being scared doesn’t mean you won’t experience failure, but it should definitely spur you on to be good– very good– or maybe even GREAT!
Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Humble!