Imagine: If you could travel back in time and meet yourself, what advice would you give?
Perhaps you would tell yourself…. “Avoid mistake X at all costs”.
Maybe you’d say…. “Only work with enterprises with Y & X characteristics”.
Or you might advise… “You’ve got to deal with your mental roadblocks”.
And if you could only share one piece of advice? What would that be? For me, it would be smashing through mental roadblocks. And not just any roadblock.
The roadblock of ME.
You see, for too long, I was in my own way, blocking my own growth and progress.
Now you might be thinking….
“But how were you blocking yourself, Andrew?”
Here’s the answer: By not developing and improving myself in the areas that truly mattered. By not focusing on personal growth at a deeper level.
Of course, your next question is probably going to be….
“What were you doing Andrew?”
I was keeping myself busy with superficial improvements and chasing the next magic bullet that came in my direction.
I’ll share a few examples with you…
Superficial improvement examples
- Learning and trying new marketing/sales tactics (there’s nothing wrong with this — it’s just there’s other stuff to get right first)
- Perfecting stuff that wasn’t right in the first place
Magic bullets examples
- Delivering products that I imagined/guessed/hoped would work
- Going after clients/niches that looked greenest from a distance (my lawn looks great from a 100m away)
And why did I do that?
Because I didn’t know any better. I lacked the training and experience to know what I should be doing. So I went after the next idea/opportunity that came along.
The cost of ideas & opportunities
The harsh reality: There’s no such thing as FREE. Opportunities always have a price tag attached and you’ll need to hand over something — whether that’s time, money, or other opportunities.
Unfortunately, many of us overlook these costs, we’re so focused on the potential upside, that we blinkered to the negative impacts.
Let’s put some flesh on the bone…
Examples of shiny & attractive opportunities:
- Being invited to explore a new market segment
- Adding a new piece of software to your workflow
- Meeting a new and influential business person for lunch
Potential upsides of these opportunities:
- The customers in this segment have large budgets and problems that obviously need solving.
- This new software will save us time and money
- The person is a proven entrepreneur and they could open doors
All-to-easily overlooked downsides of these examples:
- Going after a new segment is likely to generate lowest ROI (more on this in another post)
- It’s going to require hundreds of hours to off-board your team from the old software and onboard them to the new one.
- You’re wasting a day meeting someone who has given little indication that they’re willing to collaborate with you.
Now, the potential cost of these opportunities is obvious when they’re so clearly laid out.
But real life isn’t bullet pointed.
Opportunities and ideas sneak up on you. Sometimes in a good way. But often in a good-idea-at-the-time, but headache-in-the-morning kind of way.
It’s like when you meet a mate down the pub for a quick pint, and four hours later, find yourself stumbling home from the Kebab shop.
These things just seem to happen. And in your early business years, these things happen a lot (the opportunities, not the pub).
(Aside: I used to wonder why veteran businesspeople were so cynical and cold to new opportunities, and now I know — they’ve clearly been scarred by opportunity cost.)
Why do these things happen?
Because we’re (or at least I was) so keen to make our companies an overnight success, that we rush towards opportunities that come our way.
Of course, the majority of these opportunities fail to pay off….
But because we’re driven by psychological forces, like loss aversion, when shiny opportunities don’t pay off, we don’t stop running after them, we run after them harder than we did before — as we need to recoup our losses — which of course become greater with each opportunity that doesn’t pan out.
Now, you might be wondering….
“Why did you stop chasing all those shiny opportunities, Andrew?”
Because I got tired of wasting my precious resources on things that didn’t pay off.
Because I grew.
Because I finally realised what I needed to focus on.
How I grew
It’s not like a Hollywood movie. There weren’t any dramatic overnight changes. Just small steps that moved me further along my path.
Here’s what I did…
- Listened to more of the right kind of people (people who shared big ideas, not shallow tactics).
- Read valuable books
- Completed courses
- Worked with an accountability partner
- Surrounded myself with high performance individuals
- Learned from my many mistakes — this has become a valuable well of knowledge, knowhow, and experience.
- Learned about the psychological forces that drive us….
- Become more at peace with myself and other people
- Began to focus on more on positive steps forward and positive goals
- I learned to care less about what other people thought about me (the courage to be disliked).
- Learned how to get Deep Work done
(Aside: This is by no means an exhaustive list)
How I finally realised what I needed to focus on
A simple answer: I finally understood the value I could deliver, and how I could deliver it differently.
I realised that for many years, I had been…
- Undervaluing my expertise (although it’s kind of chicken and egg – a chunk of my expertise has come from the business experiences I’ve had over the years.)
- Not productising the value I provided. And even after I did productise my offerings…
- Offering limited delivery options – not offering multiple ways for people to get the result they wanted.
- Poor product fit — not matching people with the best delivery/product options
Once I knew the above….
I developed a Delivery & Product Map.
This lays out how I can better deliver and package the value I offered. It looks a bit like this….
Aside: The real version of my map is deeper and broader in scope…. it better deals with the challenges (and opportunities!) of lead generation, nurturing, product fit, partnerships, and other delivery methods — I’ll save that for some separate training.
Worth knowing: Having a business development map like this pinned to your wall will give you immense focus. It becomes a fixed point, something that’ll help you stay true to your course no matter what’s going on around you.
Bringing it all together
Both meaningful personal growth and knowing what to focus on have helped me move forwards…
They’ve stopped me chasing the shiny opportunities, magic bullets, and superficial improvements that were getting in my way.
They’ve helped me smash through the roadblock of ME.
Everything I do — now builds towards that delivery and product map. Which brings clarity and relevance to the decision I make, and the work that I do.
That means less time and resources wasted. And more initiatives that sustain and generate long term value for me and the people I help.
Why does any of this matter to you?
We’ll, if you’ve been wasting precious resources (time and money) chasing shiny opportunities, magic bullets, and superficial improvements…
You can learn from me — and make a change.
- Making meaningful personal growth
- Getting clear on your product and delivery roadmap
- Get clarity on what you need to work on next
Do you need clarity about what you should be working on next?
You can get clarity with my free business report.
It’s available at www.Interstellar.Report
Thanks for being here,