SUCK OR SUCCEED? CHALLENGE YOUR ASSUMPTIONS
I've failed at a lot of things, and that is not an underhanded compliment. When I was in high school I noticed that I had a penchant for obligating myself to do feats of greatness in impossible timeframes. Believe it or not, I was hardly ever disappointed in myself when I didn't come through. After all, it wasn't about completing the task as much as it was about undertaking it in the first place.
You can imagine how that same mindset DIDN'T work for me in college. While I was an accomplished athlete and scholar, my attempts at sports and academics far outweighed my achievements. My German professor once had me come to his office to reprimand me for not doing my best. I was mortified. My heart rate soared, and my response (I forget what but it started off with something like "YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH I'VE PUT INTO MY CLASSES...") startled him so much so that he put his hands up.
You can imagine how that same mindset DIDN'T work in marriage. In the first few years I learned that my wife and I didn't speak the same language. Largely influenced by her minimalist father, my wife didn't get the idea of "conceptualizing" out loud. Whenever I talked about how much money I COULD make, she expected me to come home with that exact amount. While I've made piles of money over my career, that pile pales in comparisons to the foregone commissions and budget projections made. Several years ago after almost losing my shirt in a business deal (and my house, and my job, and my family), I was finally brought up so short that I paid closer attention than I had ever paid before.
WHAT WAS MY PROBLEM? Why weren't a fourth, a third, half... nay... even three quarters of my deals working out? Was I simply BAD LUCK?
After listening to a mentor at a local Waffle House one morning, I learned a sequence of words that made the puzzle-pieces of my career come together with frightening clarity.
"ROBBIE, WE TEND TO BE MORE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT OUR OWN IDEAS THAN WE ARE THE IDEAS OF OTHERS."
I was speechless, because, of course, he was correct! If Joseph or Tiffany come up with a brilliant idea to, say, open a bakery, my critical eye immediately sees the holes in the plan.
-Why a bakery?
-What's the demand?
-Who wants to wake up at 3 a.m. to bake bread?
BUT WHEN IT'S MY IDEA, I'm more optimistic.
-I've got a GREAT idea for a logo!
-People will love my marzipan cookies!
-I know what color I want the inside painted!
Ultimately, it's this kind of uncritical selfishness that finds many of us pinching pennies at the end of the month or peeking out the window to see if our creditors have actually come to our house (I've had that happen before). While our business ideas are products of our hearts, heads, or hands, once it has been SPOKEN, it is no longer us. It is another person.
So look at it that way.
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