Doing What Works

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I’ve recently started listening to a lot of different podcasts. Many of these shows focus on a wide range of successful people; answering questions like, “what they do”, “how they started”, etc. At first, I took each of these interviews as though it was the path to success. If I could collect enough from each person, I would be able to “crack the code”. I began taking notes while I listened (and drove…not recommended). If it provoked my interest, I would write it down. Quotes, stories, and strategies began to fill my little notebook. I was on to something, or so I thought.

Collecting what I’ve Found

After months of taking notes, I began to review my findings. The results were not what I expected. I tried to make order out of the words I had spent so much time collecting. I began by organizing these into themes like ‘Getting Started’ or ‘Keeping Momentum’. I noticed almost immediately, there was an issue. All of these strategies seem to contradict one another.

For instance, everyone seemed to have different strategies on how to get started.

“You have to start with a blog.”

“You need to start building an email list.”

“You should start with social media.”

After carefully dissecting these strategies, I noticed they did have one thing in common…they all worked. The reoccurring theme was simply taking action. Sometimes the best plans aren’t as complicated as we like to think they are.

A GOOD PLAN, VIOLENTLY EXECUTED NOW, IS BETTER THAN A PERFECT PLAN NEXT WEEK. Click To Tweet

— GEORGE S. PATTON

It wasn’t that one plan was necessarily better than another – each of the strategies seemed to truly work for the person implimenting it. We all have our own talents and ideas on what works. It’s up to us to find the people that share our vision of success and surround ourselves with their teachings. This isn’t to say that you’ll completely resonant with one persons entire outlook, but that you’ll be able to abstract the items you find meaningful to make it part of your own journey.

In other words, think about it like food. Chefs all have their own opinions on what and how to cook. Some of best chefs out there would swear against another in the same field, but at the end of the day they’re both great. If you follow them both, you will undoubtedly pickup enough ingredients to make your own winning recipe.

Using what I’ve Found

This concept was tested as I began to build this website. There are countless ways I could have started, but the most important decision was in and of itself, to start. I carefully looked at the brands that I wanted to align myself with, trusting that they had done their due diligence as they built their own web presence. For the framework, I noticed a lot of people using the Genesis Framework. For an email system, many people seemed to use AWeber. For the hosting, I saw a lot of folks going with Blue Host. One-by-one, I examined the options and moved forward. There’s no need to try to reinvent the wheel. Instead, try to leverage the experience of those you know and trust.

When we don’t know who to trust, we tend to look at all the options as equal. This means it can be very difficult to make simple decisions. The more options there are, the more likely we are to choose nothing at all. Or, we will be dissatisfied with the decisions we do make, feeling that we may have made the wrong choice. This concept is known by Barry Schwartz as “The Paradox of Choice”. Although his TED talk was a bit controversial, it does a good job of illustrating how the number of options is related to our feeling about the outcome of our choice. As the number of options increase, so do our expectations. Nowadays, on the internet in particular, there seems to be an endless spectrum of choices available for just about everything. Be careful not to let these choices keep you from moving forward.

THE CHOICES THAT WE MAKE AREN'T ALWAYS PERFECT BUT IT'S OK... IT'S PART OF THE JOURNEY. Click To Tweet

— HAYLEY WILLIAMS

One thing that’s helped me make quick decisions is the Free Trial and/or Money Back Guarantee phenomenon. This is becoming commonplace for just about any product or service out there. If there’s a way for me to get my money back, I’m in. After you signup, just make a little note on your calendar and take it for a test drive. More often than not, I’ll end up keeping and using whatever it is that I went ahead with. The companies are well aware of this, so they’re not afraid to let you try it for a bit before you decide to commit. In your eyes, you’re just going to “give it a try”…but they know, 95% of those “tryers” turn into buyers.

Reflecting on what I’ve Found

No matter what industry your in, you’re going to find people that swear by the tools they use. I’ve come to the conclusion that’s it’s not as much about the tools as it is about the people using them. It’s fascinating to see all the conflicting perspectives on what really works for different people.