Are You Polishing the Car or Driving It?

By Michael Roderick  -  On 23 Jan, 2015 -  0 comments

The other night, I was out at an event in which there were a number of entrepreneurs. One young man came up to me and asked what I thought was the one most important thing that he could do to improve his performance. I didn’t have to think long to come up with the answer:

“Get something out there and reflect on your process,” I told him.

Far too often we go through life blasting through and wondering why things don’t work or why we haven’t reached the goals we have set for ourselves when the answer is right there sitting in the wreckage of whatever we did that didn’t work. When I was first starting out as a teacher, I learned early on the importance of planning, acting, and reflecting and hands down the thing that made my lessons much better was the reflecting part. This can be hard to do because it forces you to look at what went wrong and very few people want to look at that. But you absolutely have to.

Doing creates Data.

Data is meant to be tracked and measured so you can improve.

Often the biggest problem I see among entrepreneurs is something I like to refer to as “polishing the car but never driving it”. They have this desire to get things perfect before they do anything at all and as a result they just keep “improving” on whatever their idea is without actually doing anything to get it out there and learn. This leads to them never getting their product or service out there. If they would just let that imperfect thing into the world they’d learn so much from how others react to it. The fear of people not liking it is often too strong and if they do get it out there and it doesn’t have the effect that they hope it does, they’re crushed.

I remember when I launched my very first class on my own. I was so excited about the course I had created! I thought that for people to buy a ticket would be a no brainer. I dreamed of hitting publish and the second I did, there’d be a tidal wave of eager buyers and I’d have to announce the next day that I was so sorry we were sold out and that there would be a waiting list. I clicked publish.

Then I waited . . .

And waited . . .

No buyers.

I was crushed. Why didn’t people want to buy this? I then sat down and went right back to the process I had used as a teacher. I asked myself what the variables were and what the outcome was that I was expecting. I asked why I hadn’t gotten the results I wanted. I eventually realized that I had to put way more effort into the sale. I had to reach out to people one on one and let them know about this class I was teaching. I needed to let my friends know that I was teaching it and ask them to recommend it to their friends. Eventually I filled the class, but it took a lot of hard work.

If you are working on something right now and feel like you are getting no traction, take a moment to reflect on your process. What are the variables for you? What new things can you try and what data can you track? Growth is not some magic thing that happens to you.

Growth only happens when you’re willing to do things that scare you.

So what are you waiting for? Do something today that creates some data and track it.

If it works ask why it worked and if it doesn’t ask why it didn’t.

I promise that you will see more growth and you’ll be crossing the finish line while the others haven’t even gotten into the driver’s seat.