You know the feeling, right?
I was in the first year of my business. I wanted to get that first corporate engagement. I had finally secured a meeting. I spent the whole week preparing. I researched the company for hours, tried to memorize their products and services. I studied every detail I could find about the structure of the company and the history.
I was determined.
The big day arrived. The marble concourse at the entrance threw me off, it was so grand. The elevators were almost as silent and the grim-faced employees who rode inside them in. I was led to a waiting area, asked if I would like some water.
By the time I was led into the meeting my knees were shaking. I jumped in an dbegan talking. I needed to reflect to them how much I had learned about them, explained my approach, talked about my background and what I offer. When I think about it now, it’s embarrassing.
I was so nervous I didn’t listen to what they said. I was trying so hard, I was completely ineffective. Of course, I didn’t get the gig.
It reminds me of this wonderful zen story.
A martial arts student went to his teacher and said earnestly, “I am devoted to studying your martial system. How long will it take me to master it.”
The teacher’s reply was casual, “Ten years.” Impatiently, the student answered, “But I want to master it faster than that. I will work very hard. I will practice everyday, ten or more hours a day if I have to. How long will it take then?”
The teacher thought for a moment, “20 years.”
I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t work hard. I actually believe that hard work is essential to building your business (despite popular belief that it’s all easy-peasy and happens instantly). It’s essential to work hard AND be prepared to put in the time it takes to get to mastery.
There are no short cuts. Or as my Dad used to say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
But should it take ‘blood, sweat and tears’? Not necessarily, I think it should take ‘love, sweat and beating your fears’!
What do you think? Share it here.