When I was in elementary schools, there were posters everywhere telling me things like “Reach for the stars.” It’s interesting that even after we get older, we’re still bombarded by famous sayings everywhere -- books and articles are filled with them. Even the documentaries we see about famous people are brimming with them.
There is nothing wrong with these words of wisdom, except many of these sayings are left open to too much interpretation. For instance, when we see a quote we naturally try to apply it to our own lives and believe we are making the right decisions when we do so. Because of this false sense of confidence, there are times when famous lines in the media actually hurt rather than help us.
Here are a few mottos I wish I understood better before applying them in my business:
1. Delegate often.
We hear all the time how we need to hire people better than we are. When I first heard this quote, I started recruiting like a mad man. My perfect world was where I didn’t have to do anything for my business, because everyone I hired was better than me in every way. While this is a great dream to have, there was a major problem: I didn’t understand how to delegate effectively.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is it’s better to do things yourself than to give those tasks to people who aren’t passionate about your company. Early on, because I was so focused on delegation, I hired people I knew didn’t obsess over the company like I did. Over time, this hurt our company culture and those people weren’t producing exceptional work. Now, unless I know for sure that someone loves the company like I do, I won’t hire them. This puts more responsibility on my plate but saves me a lot of work and headaches in the long run.
2. Always be selling.
I was talking on the phone a few days ago to someone who was trying to sell me a product. In classic salesmany style, he kept hitting me with all the usual strategies. He mirrored what I said, asked me to paint a picture of a perfect solution and on and on. Then for a split second, he got off track. We had a common interest in sports and we talked a little bit about something that had nothing to do with the sale -- we were having a genuine conversation. Then out of nowhere, he went right back to his sales lines.
Not only did I not buy from him, but I will probably never pick up the phone again when we calls. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in sales is the power of being completely genuine with someone. There’s an art of making someone your friend before trying to sell him or her on your product. And when you and that person get along, selling comes naturally. It doesn’t require pressure or tacky sales lines. Should you always be thinking about opportunities for sales? Yes, but you’ll be 10 times more effective in sales when you focus more time on developing meaningful relationships than trying to get someone’s money.
3. Put 100 percent into everything you.
Every day I have a strict routine that includes going to the gym, writing and checking emails. When friends stay with me, they say it’s amazing to see the consistency that I have. Many times, this motivates them to try and completely change their ways of life. And almost every single time, they end up going back to their original schedule a few days later.
Why does this happen? Because we all believe that a huge amount of action and life changing habits need to develop at one time. When you watch motivational videos, you see someone who worked all day nonstop. So the next day you try doing what they did. Then you burnout and go back to the old ways. Your motivation is gone and you’re disappointed with yourself.
I used to do this myself. The only way I’ve ever been able to improve my habits is by focusing on one thing at a time. If you’re trying to get in shape, focus on either the gym or eating healthy. Take incremental steps, until you’re consistent for about two months. After that, it’ll become a natural habit.
Ignore all the quotes about huge sacrifices and discipline. Put 100 percent into making one habit stick, and the rest of the changes will fall in place.