September 2, 2014Last updated on February 13, 2017
There is one key difference I’ve noticed among successful business owners and the “wantreprenuer” crowd. One group is waiting for the right _______ (fill in the blank). And the other group decided to make things happen for themselves. Period.
I’ll let you take a lucky guess on which group is successful.
Today, I want to show you three perfect examples of what it looks like to “make things happen” for yourself.
James Clear is a good friend and an impressive business guy. He’s built a number of businesses and travels the world taking incredible photographs. He was in Austin recently along with Brennan Dunn.
While we were driving, I asked James about why he is bald.
James told me that when he started to notice that his hair was thinning, he was going to create his own solution. Instead of waiting for his hair to completely go away, he decided shave his head.
Then like a muscular buddha he shared his bald-headed wisdom with me.
“If someone mentions that you’re balding, you have to say, ‘Oh, yeah, it happened to me.’ But if they mention you shave your head, then you can simply say, ‘I chose to do it.'”
The sense of personal agency behind that statement is huge. Shaving his head put James in control–not his genetics.
When I bike around Austin, I’ll look around to see if there are any for-sale signs. Even if there’s a house or apartment I like, I always have to wait (and hope) it’ll go on sale someday.
And real estate agents have to wait until a seller comes asking for help.
But here is a letter I received a few weeks ago:
Chloe isn’t waiting for those people to put their places on the market. She’s creating her own solution, creating an advantage for herself, by going after the properties that she wants to be able to sell.
She is creating her own unlisted market and building a ton of rapport with potential sellers.
Alright, here is a third example (and oddly enough it’s about real estate too) about how to make things happen for yourself.
My friend Matt spent more than 2 years looking at housing listings to buy a place in south Austin. Every couple weeks he would take a look at the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to see what was on the market.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
He couldn’t find a single house that he wanted to buy. Then his wife got pregnant. Yay!
But they didn’t want to buy a new place (and move, buy new furniture, etc) if they couldn’t find it in the first few months. (Apparently moving with a pregnant wife is never fun.)
Instead of waiting and hoping they would get lucky, Matt got on Google Earth and scouted houses that were in their ideal neighborhoods and had pools.
He created a list of all of the houses he liked and then wrote a letter to the owners.
In the letter he explained that his wife was pregnant and that he was interested in buying the person’s house. Then he drove around for 3 hours and and left the letter on their doorstep or doors.
Within a week, three people responded to his offer and now he lives in one of the houses!
* * *
What do these three examples teach us?
There is an epidemic of waiting for the right circumstances, waiting for success, or waiting for everything to align just right before we take a step forward.
I call it conditional living:
“I’ll do that when…”
“It won’t work because…”
“There’s nothing available. I already looked…”
“I’ll wait until I’m fired…”
How many people wait to make a huge change or take a risk until they get fired, have a baby, or face some other challenge?
It’s way too easy to blame others instead of taking responsibility and creating the solution.
And now that this topic has been on my mind I hear and see it everywhere I go…even in Shakespeare.
I’ve hated Shakespeare since I was young. (Mostly cause the reading comprehension thing confused me…the “tis,” “thou,” “thee”…)
Luckily, a few days ago, a friend was reading Hamlet out loud. She read one of the most famous lines in all of literature. I was blown away by what Shakespeare was implying.
99% of you have heard this quote, but I doubt many have read the entire part:
“To be, or not to be- that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them.”
In summary, he’s saying should we put up with what’s happening to us (outrageous fortune)
Or we can take action and make things happen by ending our sea of troubles.
What am I doing when my day is going poorly?
What am I doing when a client/partner/customer rejects me and things aren’t moving forward?
What are you doing when there are no houses available? Or when my hair is thinning?
Ultimately, are things happening to you or are you making things happen? (Click to tweet)
What is 1 thing you are going to make happen today?