Tripping Over Stepping Stones

I attended an amazing seminar in the early nineties that revolutionized my business and changed my life. One of the other delegates on the same seminar kept complaining that the speaker was making up his own words, chewing while speaking (welcome to North America) and philosophizing. He was so caught up in the imperfections of the grammar and spelling in the materials that we received that he missed the whole point of the seminar (he paid $5,000 for the three days) and he derived no benefit. To this day, he battles to survive financially in his business. He tripped over the stepping-stones to wealth.

Imagine if I decided that I would wait until all the traffic lights between my home and my destination were green before I departed on a trip. Many people use imperfections as an excuse for sloth, whereas winners work with what they have. They don’t wait until things are perfect before taking action. The systems art your disposal will never be perfect. It’s the message that counts. While you’re still grumbling about a website that doesn’t meet your amazing standards, others have made thousands, using that same, imperfect site. While you’re complaining that you’re waiting for your business cards to be printed, the winner next door went out without business cards and closed a deal.

Successful entrepreneurs know that the tools at their disposal will never be perfect. Sure, we continue to improve and perfect, but you have to work with what you have. I had two different people download the same audio book from for $27. One of them whined that the sound wasn’t professional enough for her (while her kids screamed in the background of the phone call). She was bitterly unhappy with the quality, she moaned. The other client wrote me a wonderful letter and told me how she had used the same information to make five thousand dollars in a week. It’s not about the delivery system or the person communicating the message – it’s about the content of the message.

Jack Welch, General Electric Chairman and Chief Executive, said, "An overburdened, overstretched executive is the best executive, because he or she doesn’t have the time to meddle, to deal in trivia, to bother people.” And Lee Iacocca said, "So what do we do? Anything, something, so long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late."

The bottom line is that many people need to justify their failure by blaming someone – they shoot the messenger. In fact, THEY are their own problem. While we welcome suggestions for improvement and acknowledge that we’re far from perfect, we are aware that it’s not about how easy it is to search the website or what time the conference calls take place – it’s about the person who claims to want to use the message to improve their life. The stepping-stones may be dirty or covered in moss, but they can still convey you across the river to your dream home. Focus on getting to Treasure Island instead of complaining that the boat ride is a little rough. That’s what winners do. Work with what you’ve got and fix it along the way. Take massive, immediate, focused, enthusiastic, and passionate action, and leave the whiners in your dust.

Robin J. Elliott

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