In my last article, “In the World of Possibilities, New Members Are Always Welcome” I talked about the difference between the people who live in the so-called Real World and those of us who dwell in the far more enriching (and frankly more fun) World of Possibilities. To make my case, I borrowed a line from actor/director/ hip hop star Will Smith who said, “Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.”
Okay I need to be fair here. Even though they may end up living a mediocre life, some Real World-types are actually quite creative. They are forever thinking up all kinds of ideas for inventions or articles or businesses. Some even go so far as to jot down exhaustive notes, outlines, and to-do lists. A few even go so far as to design prototypes, develop detailed marketing plans, or write entire books.
There is only one problem. Unless they make the leap to World of Possibilities, no one else ever sees their handiwork, which leads me to the story of an inspiring dream grower named Lynn Burkholder from Guelph, Canada. A few weeks ago Lynn sent out an announcement about her new newsletter, “The Inner Genius.” What’s an “inner genius”? I’ll let Lynn explain:
I believe we are all born with a set of gifts, talents and preferences that are “hard wired” into our DNA. I don’t think it’s an accident or necessarily a result of our environment that we are naturally drawn to certain tasks and areas of interest. Unfortunately, most of these gifts are never developed because we are expected to live our lives fitting into a construct that society has prescribed as the norm.
I also believe that it is never too late to excavate these gifts and incorporate them into our lives. When I was in Grade One, I used to write extra stories for my teacher. I even remember the sky blue pencil I used to write about my sister’s wedding. That love for writing has remained dormant for 30 years. Why? I could give you a long list of reasons but it all boils down to the fact that I didn’t develop the skill because I didn’t believe it was possible. In the society I was shown growing up, people didn’t make money writing. Thankfully, I don’t believe that anymore.
What seemingly small, insignificant past-time did you give up because you were told you couldn’t make a living at it? And further, who lead you to believe that you had to make a living doing just one thing? Why couldn’t there be two or three or ten?
Quite naturally then, Lynn’s new newsletter is aimed at people who want to pursue their Inner Genius. (Who wouldn’t?) But here’s where it got interesting. As I continued reading I learned that by signing up I would not only receive the first issue of Find Your Inner Genius on July 16th (remember that date) but that it would include a link to a free Special Report called “12 Ways to Find Out What You Are ‘Supposed’ To Be Doing!”
Commit, Then Do
Why am I telling you this? Well, Lynn was a member of my 2006 Outside the Job Box Career Certification program. The formal part of the training program ended in March. Lynn’s invitation arrived a few months later on July 9th to be exact (remember this date too). I couldn’t send a congratulatory email fast enough!
Apparently my words of encouragement came at the right time because as soon as she’d made this public commitment, Lynn says she was feeling, “really vulnerable.” And why wouldn’t she? After all, “Now I have to write a newsletter AND a special report by Monday,” adding, half jokingly, “Evidently, I like pressure. Ha ha.”
If I was proud of Lynn before, I was positively beaming now. She had mastered an incredibly simple but hugely important lesson about fast tracking any dream – commit, then do.
The first thing Lynn did was to put a stake in the ground by setting a deadline. Remember those two dates – announcing her new newsletter to the world on July 9th and setting a due date of July 16th? Lynn had given herself exactly seven days to write a newsletter and a special report.
Now obviously Lynn had given both the newsletter and the special report a lot of thought. And she no doubt had parts of both either written or at least sketched out in her head. Wisely though, she employed THE absolute best technique for making a more rapid leap from the mediocrity of the Real World to the world where possibilities become realities… she made herself accountable.
It’s one thing to come up with one of those made up deadlines that are between “you and you.” But to make sure she stuck to her goal Lynn announced her intention to the world. There is simply no better way to overcome procrastination than to employ the Commit, Then Do technique.
If you want to teach a seminar you haven’t 100 percent designed yet, set a date and start signing people up for your seminar. If you’ve spent the last year studying how to import olive oil from Italy, take a small deposit on a few pre-orders. If you want to write an eBook, promise a bunch of people that you’ll send them a free copy when it’s done.
Will you make yourself vulnerable this way? Absolutely! Yet “Unless you walk out into the unknown,” says Tom Peters, “the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low.” The person who never makes him or herself vulnerable will never fall in love, will never visit long-dreamed-of destinations, will never share their gifts with the world, and will certainly never live the life they want – and richly deserve. The way I see it, it is far better to have to reschedule the workshop or return the deposits or push off the due date to risk being vulnerable than it is to leading a life of utter mediocrity.
Speaking of mediocrity – or more precisely the all too common fear that if you do eventually write your eBook or set up your import business or deliver your seminar that it will turn out mediocre at best – there is another related concept that any dreamer needs to master.
Know When “It’s Good Enough”
In the software development world, this concept even has a buzzword. It’s called “Good Enough Quality.” In his article “Good Enough Quality, Beyond the Buzzword,” James Bach says, “Microsoft begins every project with the certain knowledge that they will choose to ship with known bugs.” No big surprise to PC owners and yet, at the same time, rather startling I’m sure to many.
The big Internet marketing gurus have another, somewhat more descriptive, name for it. The phrase they use to urge would-be entrepreneurs to just get your stuff out there is: “Half a** is better than no a**.” (Think Biblical name for donkey here.)
Before I say another word, I need to be 100 percent clear here. No one is talking about putting out sub-par products or services. Bill Gates did not build the dominant software company in the world with bad products. No one makes it long in the Internet marketing world, never mind get to be multi-millionaires like the big gurus have, by putting out schlocky stuff. As Bach is quick to add, “Good enough has nothing to do with mediocrity.”
The point is one of biggest reasons why most ideas never see the light of day is because people get so obsessed with making sure that every possible kink is worked out, every word is perfect, every conceivable base is covered, that they never just get their stuff out there.
Let’s face it. It’s always “easier” to do nothing. It’s always easier to endlessly research your big idea. Never acting on your gifts may be depressing and soul-sucking, yes, but still it really is easier. So I wish I could tell you there was such a thing as effortless success. But as Lynn and others know, once you’ve mastered the concepts of “Commit, Then Do” and the “It’s Good Enough” you still actually buckle down and DO it.
Do you know why Will Smith says he never gets tired of pushing? It’s because he says, “There is no pain worse than not achieving a dream when it is your fault. If God did not want you to have it, that is one thing. But if you do not get what you desire because you are lazy, there is no pain worse than that.” Amen.
If you’re ready to go after your dream, Lynn is holding a special “Summer Sale.” For a limited time only, Changing Course subscribers like you can receive a personal 90 -minute “Outside the Job Box” career consultation for only $50 (normally $150). To schedule a consultation or to get your free Special Report, go to FindYourInnerGeniusNow.com and sign up for Lynn’s more-than-good-enough newsletter now.