4 things your clients want but DO NOT NEED!
After working with thousands of clients over almost 20 years, I can tell you that the four things coaching clients want most are (1) more confidence, (2) more clarity about the future, (3) certainty that it will all work out and (4) to feel comfort in the process.
They want these four things more than anything else.
And they’ve got it all wrong…
1. Confidence is overrated
Everybody wants confidence before they begin something new but it’s actually the payoff for taking action when you feel afraid.
Fear is often a mask for desire, which means your lack of confidence becomes your compass, quietly pointing you in the direction of what you really want to do.
Confidence is a result, not a requirement.
2. Clarity is overrated
Everybody wants it moving forwards but clarity is what you get when you look in the rearview mirror.
We read self-help books, or biographies of interesting people hoping to learn how to become successful. Richard Branson’s autobiography is a great book but it’s not a guide to your future success. It’s a memoir of his past successes.
Branson’s mistakes are legion and he’s actually had many businesses that failed. None of the following businesses exist any longer and many barely launched before they crashed: Virgin Cola, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Cosmetics and Virgin Clothing. Virginware didn’t last. Here’s a quote from a 2005 newspaper article: “Sir Richard Branson’s dream of making it big in ladies’ underwear [Virginware] will end on Tuesday with a fire sale of 35,000 pairs of Virgin branded knickers, bras, g-strings, basques and bikinis.”
Also no longer with us are: Virgin Atlantic Little Red, a domestic airline for the UK. Virgin Cars, Virgin Brides, Virgin Megastore, Virgin Pulse, Virgin Digital, discount airline Virgin Express, Virgin Charter, Facebook rival VirginStudent and Virgin Lottery.
Leaders are constantly making things up. When you make something up and it looks like you know what you’re doing, people trust you. But nobody ever really knows if their newest idea will work.
Many of the most iconic and successful brands pivoted on the way to their success and most of us have no idea. Starbucks was launched as a business selling espresso makers and coffee beans. Nintendo was first a taxi company, then a hotel chain, a TV network and an instant rice company before they went into computer games. Nokia began as a Finnish paper mill in 1865. The billion dollar chewing gum company, Wrigley’s, started selling soap and then selling baking powder before it transitioned into chewing gum
The only thing a great leader is ever doing is making it up. No matter how many slides on their pitch deck, or how many pages in their business plan. THEY MADE IT UP!
A few years back, I literally made that my business plan: “MAKE IT UP.” Over time, some of what I make up works out and some doesn’t. The problem is that people only see what works out, so they assume that I know what I’m doing!
Clarity is the result of starting, struggling and even failing along the way. Clarity is a result, not a requirement. You will be successful in life in direct proportion to your ability to make stuff up.
3. Certainty is overrated
In uncertain times you don’t need more certainty, you need more creativity. The only certainty you have in life is your ability to serve and your ability to create.
Not sure what to do? Find one person to serve. Serve them so powerfully they never forget your conversation for the rest of their life.
Not sure what to do? Create one thing. Write an article, design some new IP, make a quiz or a scorecard, come up with a new distinction, a tool, a new coaching program.
4. Comfort is overrated
Everything you want in life is kept out in direct proportion to the amount of discomfort you are unwilling to feel.
If you want to get healthier and stronger, your workouts need to be challenging. Likewise, a great leader and a great business grow from challenge.
Make mistakes, get messy, be vulnerable. Mistakes are how you learn. Messy is sexy. Vulnerability is a superpower and very attractive in a world where anyone can be Instagram-famous.
If you really want to be successful, increase the number of uncomfortable conversations you are willing to have. If you really want to be successful, do what scares you.
A little scary is good.
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