I’ve been listening to an episode of the Tony Robbins Podcast with Simon Sinek who is the author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. He’s a self-described “unshakable optimist.” He has a deep belief in building bright futures and that we all yearn to do that together, not alone. On the episode I was listening to this week, he talked about what it means to be the “best” at something and why he doesn’t believe it’s possible to “beat the competition” or “win business.” I liked his take on this subject because it fits into a belief I already have and yet can sometimes lose confidence in my professional abilities when something doesn’t work out. I think it’s a relatable topic and a relatable feeling, for anyone who technically works in “sales”, specifically.
The first thing he said really struck accord. “Being ‘the best’ means the game is over.” “Winning business is impossible…who was the competition? Did they know they were competing? What were the rules of the game?” It’s a valid point. In a business where “market share” is a popular buzz phrase, how do you get it and when do you get it? Sinek’s point is that we can only really compete against ourselves and that progress and advancement measured by our own previous or current accomplishments is the best use of our time and it’s something we need to do together, assuming we work with on a team.
“Impatience” is a word and concept I’ve been investigating the last few weeks as part of the normal January reflection and resolution routine. For most of my life, I’ve thought of my optimistic “impatience” as a great kick starter for many of the adventures and successes I’ve enjoyed. But lately, I’ve been worried that “impatience” has become my Achilles heel. I try something, and if it doesn’t work, I get frustrated and move on. I do it as a Realtor, I do it as a mother, and I certainly do it as person who would like to be more fit. So, in an attempt for growth, I’ve been really trying to understand the benefits of consistency over impatience or intensity. Enter Tony Robbins and Simon Sinek.
To hear either of them speak is to feel pretty sure that consistency, in all its unglamorous un-sexiness, is probably the most proven system for growth, for “success”. My argument against consistency has always been that nagging question in the back of my impatient mind – “but when?” Ok, if I work out every day, I will get in shape – but when? If I make phone calls an hour a day to my database or some other form of lead generation, my business will grow – but when? If I can be more patient with my children, it could change their reaction to things – but when? Is it worth doing if I can’t see the results right now? How can you prove to me it will work if I must wait for the proof? (I would have been an awful scientist.)
This morning, Simon Sinek answered my unending skepticism when he said, “I don’t know when.” Essentially, he said he could guarantee that if a person worked out everyday for 20 minutes, they’d be more fit. But then he went on to say that he doesn’t know when, exactly, that will happen. Only that time and history have proven that results will emerge.
Teams and companies who consistently spend time together and sincerely show empathy and who take care of each other do begin to operate like a family. They may emote together and support each other in the same way siblings do. “Time builds value” is a quote I often think of both in my personal and work life. It’s funny that I lean on that notion so heavily and yet am constantly tugged by an impatience to build that value. I want the value now and I know I’m not alone in this feeling. Somehow hearing that no one can guarantee me when the results will happen, only that they will, is a freeing concept for me.
In all honesty, “being the best” has never been a driver in my world. I do want a big world and I do want to make a big impact on my community. I want to work with a team that does big things. I want to do big things with my family and for my children. But in all my hastiness, maybe I’ve defined “big” in a way that will never truly satisfy my ambition. Maybe “big” means “valuable” and if the definition of “valuable” is “a thing of great worth” or “a great use or service” or “having desirable or esteemed characteristics or qualities”, then maybe that’s worth the steady, everyday thoughts and work and steps it will take to build something of great value. Now that I’ve been promised no due date, maybe I will enjoy the consistency and patience it apparently will take to be have a big, valuable life.