At any point in any kind of new initiative, you’ve done all the planning, strategizing, training, and preparation you can. You’ve sought advice and insight from experts and gurus, it is a never-ending source of truisms and platitudes. But there comes that moment of truth, when you have to go make it happen.
You’re out there all alone. You are filled with uncertainty and doubt. You are hesitant. We hope for the best, but fear the worst will happen. We worry about failing.
Unfortunately, this is the point where too many people stop.
Rather than moving forward, people go back to reassess things. They do more research. They study more, look at other alternatives, try to build the perfect strategy. They plan and strategize more. They call more experts for advice. Not having tried a first approach, they abandon it and start to evaluate a different approach.
The excuses and rationalizations start. Something else came up, we ran out of time. It’s not a good time, we should wait until later. Someone called an important meeting (thank goodness)! Or there’s that important email we forgot to respond to.
It’s insidious–it’s not picking up the phone to make that prospecting call. It’s not asking that tough question in the customer meeting. It’s not pushing back when that may be the right thing to do.
We live in a world where nothing is certain (except that at some point we all will die), but we continue to hesitate and defer.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is to go out and get your teeth kicked in!
Sure it hurts! It can be really painful. But there is seldom anything we can do in sales or business that is catastrophic. Sure we may lose a deal. We may upset someone. We’re beaten by competition. Our businesses can fail. We may lose a job.
None of this is catastrophic, we learn what works, what doesn’t, we grow and improve. The next time we go out, we remember to wear a mouth guard. We get kicked in the teeth again, but there’s very little damage. We pick ourselves up, we move forward and succeed, learning each time.
We revel in stories of others who have failed then succeeded–the stories of how many times it took Thomas Edison before he finally created a light bulb that worked! Or we talk about the 10,000 hours of practice critical to mastery of anything. Intellectually, we understand it, but practically we stop ourselves.
We have to prepare as best we can. But at some point we have to go out and execute!
(I have to thank Don Perkins for reminding me that I had given him this piece of advice a few years ago–and he wrote a great post about it! Thanks Don!)