I have always been one of those people who want to excel at everything I do, so it frustrates me when I try something and I don’t get the results I am expecting. I guess it’s the frustration that forces me to continuously find ways to get better.
Recently I have been playing darts with a bunch of guys who take it pretty seriously. I am probably the worst in the group and I don’t like it. Despite watching and listening, until recently I couldn’t figure out why my game was so weak.
I was considering a new line of entertainment and was discussing this with Angus, who is one of the better players. He took a look at my darts and asked me to try his. Almost immediately I noticed an improvement in my game. He told me that there were several things wrong with my darts, although to my untrained eye, they looked pretty good. He told me the balance was wrong, the weight was wrong for my way of throwing and the flights needed to be configured differently. A few tips from an expert really enhanced my game. I am not yet an expert, but I am definitely playing better and feeling more confident.
The same thing happened to me when I took up skiing a few years ago. Having lived in Africa most of my life, I didn’t get a lot of opportunity to ski until I arrived in Canada. I started with some second hand equipment that I bought from a friend. I used this equipment for a while and skied at an intermediate level but did not make much progress once I got to this level. Then one day I decided to try out some top of the line skis and boots and found an amazing difference. In addition I took some more lessons from an expert instructor and again noticed dramatic and immediate improvement in my ability.
A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from an HVAC contractor with whom I had done a telephone consultation about a year ago. He had been advertising in the Yellow Pages and was very disappointed with his results. I had suggested a new headline and a different strategy for his ad. I had also suggested he could get away with a smaller ad. He called to let me know he was getting better results, but had not implemented my suggestion to offer a “bait piece” that would have prospects calling him for information they needed to make an informed decision. During the call he said he wished he had followed all my advice, but at the time he didn’t want to do everything I had suggested. Only after seeing the results did he change his mind and now he was kicking himself.
Once again, it seemed to be an example of the right desire, supported by the wrong tools, preventing him from getting all the prospects he deserved.
Every time you need to develop a new skill or learn something, there are people who have succeeded in what you are trying to do. The amazing thing is that in most cases, people are willing to show you how they do what they do, and so shorten your learning curve. Taking advantage of this human kindness is the quickest way to success. Understand what they do and follow their suggestions. In most cases you will see an immediate result.
It’s a strategy I’ve used throughout my life. I find someone who is already an expert in what I want to learn. I call them and ask them for their help. I usually offer to pay for their time. Sometimes I even barter my marketing skills instead of paying cash. But many people gladly help out with great advice over lunch or coffee and want little or nothing in return. I’ve received some of the most useful advice using this strategy and have gotten to meet some amazing people this way.
I am always amazed at what you can learn for such a small investment relative to the benefit. I recently learned a straight forward way to double the conversion rate on my website. I’d never have figured it out on my own and feel it was worth every penny I paid to attend the program.
Of course in some of the fields in which you want to excel there are experts who make their living by selling this knowledge. Don’t expect them to give up their expertise for free, but when you find someone who has the knowledge you need, buy their books, buy their courses, their coaching programs or buy their time. They sell this information for a tiny fraction of what it has cost them to learn. How can you put a price on 10, 20 or 30 years of experience that accelerates your success and shortens your learning curve? Of course, you have to work to apply it, simply knowing is not enough, don’t expect miracles until you do something with what you have learned.
You’ll get to where you want to go far more quickly and in the long run probably far more cheaply. There is a definite opportunity cost to taking too long to learn how to do something.
I personally spend 10 to 12 thousand dollars each year going to courses where I can learn from subject matter experts who have done what I am trying to do. I believe this has enabled me greatly to accelerate the success of each business I have been in.
You can do it too. It’s worth every penny to get solid advice from quality people. Write down all the things you need to learn to succeed in your goals, then make a list of all the people who have the expertise you need to succeed. Once you have done that it is a simple matter to contact them and ask for their help.
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