Nonetheless, this article is actually about The No. 1 Rule of Success. I just threw in the useless bullshit buzzwords because I think it’s funny.
OK, you ready? Got your rockstar pants on? Here’s the rule:
Stop caring so much about the fucking rules.
Most business advice comes in the “slow and steady” flavor. Which, in my opinion, tastes terrible.
Skim through the typical entrepreneurial book or podcast and you’ll get something along the lines of, “research, plan, start slowly, save money, take baby steps, etc.”.
That has never worked for me. I don’t have the patience. I’m not saying it’s bad advice. It’s just bad advice for me. And it may be for you too.
I’ve wasted years of my life because I was so obsessed with doing everything the “right” way, the way I was told entrepreneurship had to be done. I would get hours of advice, do months of research and planning, only to burnout before I finished or launched a single thing.
One day I finally realized, there are no rules. Everyone’s path to success is different. All those people we put up on pedestals? They don’t have some sort of magic 8 ball telling them what to do. Most of the time, they’re winging it. Just like the rest of us.
But if there’s one thing they do have in common, it’s this: they don’t let the “unknown” keep them from doing it anyway.
I’m not afraid of taking big risks. I’m definitely a dive-in-and-hope-I-learn-to-swim-before-I-drown kind of guy. I love the thrill of learning on the job, so to speak.
I know that doesn’t work for everyone, and, before I get yelled at, I’m not suggesting you leap blindly. But, if you’re anything like me, you can easily get sucked into an endless cycle of preparation and not actually do anything.
I’ve had to painfully force myself out of this cycle. Only you know how much preparation you actually need. But I’m willing to bet it’s less than you think.
For almost two years I’ve wanted to make a podcasting course. TWO YEARS. I planned, I researched, but always managed to talk myself out of it, for one reason or another.
One night in November, I was up late doing my usual “dream and scheme” thing, and I thought, What if I just did it? What if I stopped all this talk and actually did it?
So that’s exactly what I did. I quit doing client work. Literally, I just stopped. I had no savings, no way to pay the bills, no massive audience and no experience making a product. On top of that, I had a family to support and my fair share of student loans and debts to pay.
But I decided, in that moment, that the only way to change my future, was to just… change it.
The first thing I did was get an accountability partner. Someone I could call on when I was feeling overwhelmed and who would keep me moving when that all too familiar fear of failure started to creep in.
The next thing I did was launch a landing page for my course. That was December 16 and, at the time, I still didn’t know what would actually be in the course, I just knew I could make it, whatever it ended up being.
Seven days later (I gave myself one week to outline the course and put that information on the landing page) I opened it up for presale. This was two days before Christmas, which, if you don’t know, is the worst time of year to launch anything.
But, four days later, I had 100 preorders and an extra $5,000 in my bank account.
Get to the point Adam!, you may be thinking. OK, here’s the point: I’m telling you all this because I’ve spoken to many of you and I know how easy it is to overthink something to death and never actually do it.
Deciding to end that cycle has changed my life and it can do the same for you. I didn’t achieve these “successes” because of some secret knowledge or super power. I simply deciding to stop thinking about it and just did it.
It’s the start of a new year and you may be thinking about that thing in the back of you’re brain that you’ve wanted to do for a long time, but still haven’t.
You know the one I’m talking about. Yeah, that one.
Just do it. Seriously. Stop the planning and the thinking and the obsessing and just get to it. Make 2015 different.
I recently had a conversation on TGM with Donald Miller, one of my favorite authors. You can listen to the episode here, but one thing he said really stuck out to me:
“You don’t have to win, you just have to compete. And the bottom line is, most people aren’t competing. If you just get up and do the work, you end up in the top 10 percent fairly quickly.”
Our conversation was filled with stuff like that, but that particular bit really hit me.
I talk a lot about “just doing it”. But that’s because I so quickly forget it. If I’m not careful, I slip right back into planning and research mode because that’s my comfort zone. But if my past is any indication, my comfort zone tends to get me nowhere.
Here’s the bottom line: I’m not exceptionally gifted, a special case or an outlier. If I can do this stuff, anyone can. As Don said, you just have to get up every morning and do it.
And, as always, if you need a little help, don’t hesitate to ask.