If you frequent social media it’s hard to avoid the onslaught of targeted ads. This isn’t to say ads are all bad of course, but there is a particular variety of advertising out there that is currently near plague status. Chances are you’ve been in the crosshairs before – especially if you own your own business.
Here is the bottom line:
Anyone telling you there is one solution to your supposed problem – just one way that really works – is usually just trying to sell you something, and often that product is simply themselves.
Social media is chock full of people who know “this one trick”, “the secret to…” “the only way” offering their coaching services after they have “left their successful career to help you find the same success”. Scroll. Don’t click it. Just scroll.
I’m going to save you some time right now. There is almost always more than one solution to your problem (if it’s even a problem at all). You have options. Don’t let anyone convince you that they, in particular, are your solution. They aren’t. You are your solution because you have the ability to think, try things, and weigh the results yourself.
Aside from the click-bait factor of teasing you with the holy grail of solutions if you just visit this website, sign up for this email, buy my program, buy my coaching services, etc. when you actually “get” there, you’ll find more of the same you’d find from any other type like this: someone touting their opinion, or previous experience, as the ONE real answer.
Let us dissect this a bit.
1. This is a Continuation
Hardly anyone drops their successful lifestyle, and leaves it all behind to help you get to where they were. From a business standpoint that would be nutty. In all likelihood though, they aren’t actually nutty.. Because that just isn’t what they did. They have built a new business of selling their name as a brand that represents success. They are the product, or at least the idea of them is. There is nothing wrong with that provided they are instilling useful advice that will be of benefit to you. You may pay someone to teach you a way to do something, and that’s fine but realise, again, it’s “just a way”. This is their business, not a grand life’s crusade.
2. Nothing Is That Simple
What worked for one person or business may not work for you. Every person, business, or situation is unique. Analyze it like you would in a scientific experiment. There are so many different factors that affect how, or why something is. Even the smallest of details can make a world of change. That being said there can’t be a single solution that works for everyone, because there is no single person called “everyone” that fits “anyone”. What worked best for Company A may not be best for Company B, and the same applies on a personal level. This is why we have such a variety of opinions on marketing, leadership, finance, etc.
The problems arise when we attach to our results as “the truth for all” and become arrogant, closing ourselves off to other possible ideas. So if something worked great for you five years ago with one business that doesn’t mean if will work again with your next one. You have to be open to new ideas so that when your implementation of the prior solution isn’t working as planned you can shift your thinking and find a solution that works this time. “But we’ve always done it this way” is one of the most dangerous phrases in the English language.
3. It Plays On Your Fear
If there truly was one solution that led to success and all others led to failure.. You’d want to know what is was! Certainly you would. The news media does this frequently in teasers to make sure you watch: “What popular thing might be killing your child? Find out tonight at 11.” Fear. Fear as a hook to draw you in. It’s a powerful tool. You fear your business might fail, or that you are missing out on being so much more successful, all because you may not know what this person says is the one way to save it, to make it grow beyond your wildest dreams.
4. Noone Is Right All The Time
Noone can be your one solution because they aren’t right on everything. The more diverse their proclaimed expertise then the higher the likelihood they get it wrong sometimes. It’s just statistics. They don’t know everything, you don’t know everything, and I certainly don’t know everything either. It doesn’t mean the intentions are bad, it just means they are imperfect, you are imperfect, and I am imperfect – just like everything else in this world. We all do our best but get it wrong sometimes, and when we pass knowledge to others sometimes we pass on incorrect information.
What can we do?
Once you understand those four points above you can adopt a new approach. You know they aren’t just doing this out of the goodness of their heart and that it’s their business, you know that there isn’t really ONE way that works for everyone, and because of that you don’t really fear the situation. It is then you are ready to hear what they have to say, see if there is anything of value in it that can apply to you, discard the rest, and move on.
Think of it as adding a new tool to your toolbox. When you buy a new tool you don’t just throw out others that serve different purposes. You realize there is a time and place to use them and you hang on to them. A wrench may not make the best hammer but you don’t throw away your wrench when you buy a new hammer. You keep it for when you need a wrench. It also makes sense to acquire a hammer when it’s needed instead of hitting something with your wrench. Some jobs will need wrenches. Some jobs will need hammers.
Think of every new idea, approach, or method as a tool. It’s a tool to get a job done, and what you want to develop is a sense of wisdom of knowing which tool to use at any given time. Experience can give us a basis of where we might start but it doesn’t mean the solution is already worked out. You have to get in there and get dirty. Determine which tool is working, and which might be better suited for this task. Perhaps you even selected the right tool but its the wrong size, and it may need to be adjusted to fit.
So when you are trying to grow your business it’s important to absorb ideas, test them if they seem like they might fit, and then if they don’t be nimble enough to try implementing something else. Adaption is a necessary skill for success. To be adaptable you must have a diverse set of ideas. If you don’t have a diverse set of ideas then it’s less likely you will find a solution. When you encounter a difficulty be willing to think outside of what has already been done by you, or others, in the past. Understand you have choices, and that more than one of those choices may improve your situation and give you the desired result. Avoid attaching yourself to any one solution. Keep your toolbox diverse.
– Nathan Kendrick
When you search for people to learn from, especially if you plan to mentor under them, look for someone who is willing to admit their mistakes and shortcomings, who demonstrates an openness to listen in addition to speaking, and who presents their knowledge in the way of “here is what I have done” instead of “here is what you should do”. Good teachers inspire students to think, and to come up with solutions on their own.
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
― Albert Einstein
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
― George Bernard Shaw
“The oak is the strongest tree in the forest, but the willow bends and adapts. When the fires and storms hit, it is the willow that survives.”
― Kara Barbieri
“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is Nature’s inexcusable imperative.”
― H.G. Wells