Recently I was approached by a friend of a client (let’s call him Jeff!) who was “interested in maybe getting a bit of coaching” and he wanted to chat to me first before he made any decision, which was fine by me.
Jeff’s opening question to me was: “will you tell me lots of things that I have not heard before?”
My response somewhat took him by surprise when I said that I thought that is unlikely.
I think he was waiting for the hard sell when I would tell him that I would shower him with pearls of wisdom that he would never come across anywhere else.
“In fact,” I said, “my guess is you know everything you need to know to achieve what you want to achieve. The problem is you are not using what you know. I reckon that there is a big gap between what you know and what you do – and that is the gap I can fill. And, I guess, it is that gap that is driving you mad, and is where you need some help.
In my experience, both in my work with clients and in my own life, we frequently use the excuse of “having to get more knowledge, or information, or skills” before we embark on a goal we really want to achieve.
Frequently that is simple procrastination.
It allows us to justify not starting and getting into action mode and, truthfully, there can be something quite enjoyable about “thinking” about our new and exciting goal.
For as long as we are thinking about it then we cannot fail!
Harsh? Perhaps but there is a lot of truth there!
I am reminded of the quote from the philosopher Seneca who said: “it’s not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it’s because we do not dare that things are difficult.”
If you want to change your life then, by definition, doing the same things that you are doing now will produce exactly what you have right now.
But doing something different is stepping out of the comfort zone and doing something that you have not dared to do before
Waiting until we have that “required knowledge, skill or whatever” is a form of not daring, and we rationalise it to ourselves. Our thought process tells us that we cannot embark, or dare to start, until we have all we need to know.
That’s rubbish, and is only an excuse. And that is an excuse we tell ourselves over and over again.
But, the good news is, you can dare to start – right now!
Just take that first step, and once you have done that, then figure out the next one.
Every successful entrepreneur I have worked with or read about has always had the philosophy of “fail fast and fail early”. Why? Because that is where the learning happens.
Getting into action gives you momentum and leverage, and remember what Archimedes said about leverage: “Give me a lever long enough and I will move the world.”
What stops us is the overthinking, over-analysing and just not “daring” to get going.
Remember the ship will always be safe in the harbour but it was not what it was built for.
So, how does that connect back to Jeff I spoke of at the beginning? He thought that I would provide him those pieces of knowledge that he needed to achieve what he wanted to achieve.
But that is not why he should hire me – and I told him that. The reason he should hire me is, however, that I can challenge him to dare to take those steps that he needs to do to achieve his goals, and I will keep on his case to ensure that he does what he should, and not just stay thinking about his goals.
My role is not to shake some magic dust on clients and the gold appears. My role is to challenge, cajole, and motivate my clients to achieve their goals. It is about bridging that gap between thinking and doing!
So, is Jeff now a client? Well no – at least not right now. His response when I laid this out for him was that he was not ready to enter into this sort of process. Personally, I think that was the right call, and I said so to him.
I told Jeff he needs to decide if his goals are ones that he is interested in achieving, or committed to achieving. If it’s the former we are both wasting our time!
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