Practice what you preach!
May 24, 2017
Hands up if you know more than five “social media experts”. Ten? Fifteen?
When I started my first business I didn't “know” what I was doing. When I started my second business, I still didn't “know” what I was doing. Nor did I know what I was “doing” when I started my third business. Or my podcast, if we're being honest.
But you know what, I learned along the way and as I got older I realised that there's nothing more powerful than your gut and a healthy dose of working your ass off.
I like to call this “practice”.
Business isn't natural to everyone, I don't know if it is to me, to be honest.
I'm an ideas guy, and the day-to-day of business is something that I really have to remain grounded in and really practice.
And so, when people began asking me questions about their businesses or their life in business, I never ever felt qualified to answer.
Was that a little imposter syndrome? Absolutely.
But I did my best to answer and sure enough, people asked me more and more about their businesses. Not only that, but that started to ask me more complex questions about their businesses that I found myself answering.
And answering pretty competently, too!
Did I get better at business? You bet I did! I did it for HOURS every day, how could I NOT get better at it?
But this realisation crept up on me and it was only after a really serious amount of time that I began to understand that although I didn't have all of the answers, I did have answers that other people didn't have – either because of the experience that I'd earned through those hours of practice, or by simply having my own perspective on things.
The same applied to podcasting.
When I first started the original run of Excellence Expected, back when it was just a podcast, people came to me to ask how they could podcast, too.
Answering them felt just as uncomfortable as answering that first “round” of “business” questions – what gave me the right to give out advice on podcasting when I'd only just started?
Sure, I knew more than someone who was totally new to it, but heck – I was by no means an expert in the field and more specifically, I'd not actually proven to myself that I knew how to run a podcast that grew an audience.
I run a podcast accelerator programme that fills up every single time I open the doors.
Because by proxy of simply doing, I was practising – every single day.
Going the other way
I remember when Blab came around. Do you remember that?
Blab was a live-streaming platform that launched at around the same time as Periscope and that closed its doors in 2016 after its first major startup experiment showed that it needed to change its offer a little.
Within a week or so of the platform gaining some solid traction amongst the content creator community and to my disbelief, I saw a number of Blab “experts” popping up all over the ‘net.
One one hand, this is great – after all, helping other people to adopt a platform that they have no experience in and that can genuinely help them is admirable.
But I took a little umbrage with the fact that these Blab “experts” couldn't possibly be experts in a platform that was oh so very new.
Sure, they had more experience than completely new users, and in fact, there was an amazing subset of people who simply stayed online during Blab's early days with the sole intent of hopping on to help those new users acclimate to the platform and ask any questions.
Crowdsourced onboarding, if you will.
So what's the issue?
Simply put: you can't preach “best practice” and what works until you can prove that what you're saying does in fact work.
“If you can see the band waggon, you're too late” – James Goldsmith
I believe that. I do.
And it's easy to hop onto a band waggon in order to gain a little peak in interest, gather some email subscribers or heck, even make a few sales.
But will it last?
I do not think so.
A better long term strategy, surely?
The thing with working online is that it's super-easy to sound like an expert on something.
And that's fine, as long as you add value to the lives of people with whom you interact.
But you have to be able to react, to be agile and adapt to changing circumstances and you must be able to prove that you can pull off the things that you attest to knowing so much about.
And that takes real-world practice and experience.
Tiger Woods could tell you how to pull off that shot, he could walk you through the steps to take and he could disclose every little detail about what it takes to execute.
But I guarantee you that it's going nowhere near the hole and probably won't even stay anywhere near the green.
Because you and I, well we simply haven't practised the 70,000+ hours that Tiger has in order to get to that point.
There are no easy wins in business.
There are easy sells, but easy sells are seldom real wins.
Instead, we have to hone our craft and before we start creating products and taking hard-earned money from people who believe in us, we have to prove that we can return to them a value that far surpasses their investment and their belief in us.
Ask yourself: do you want to create a business and subsequently a life that relies on being an expert, or do you want to craft a lifestyle that is based on your true expertise?
Don't hold back with your answer.
Don't forget, the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel!