I’ve never been a good student. I got about 64% in both high school & university. I’ve never felt smart. I’ve often felt like I have no idea what I’m really doing. And I often feel like I must be doing something wrong otherwise how could it be so easy? My mind would spin with thoughts of ‘How could someone that was always told by the education system they were a C or D student actually be smart enough to really teach CEOs how to grow companies?’
Something started to change for me about 6 years ago, when I was already 38 years old. I was taking a course trying to learn how to get better as a leader and I came across my ‘unique ability’. I realized that I’m awesome at using quick intuitive alternatives to help CEOs reverse engineer their dreams. Like architects help homeowners put their ideas into blueprints and get them built into a home, I help CEOs get the ideas out of the heads, and help them build the teams and systems to make their dreams happen. To me it feels easy. To me I wonder why they’d pay me to do what feels so simple. And to me I keep thinking I’d do it for free – but my kids like to eat and I like expensive toys. So I gotta charge for it. From there, I became a more effective business coach.
Once I learned what I was great at, I began eliminating everything else from my day-to-day. I began to focus on finding clients that fit me. I found that I work best with young, fun, entrepreneurial, high viral, high growth, pre-public companies. My ideas resonate with them. They get huge value from my systems. And they feel like I’m cheap compared to paying for someone with my skills full time.
The more time I spend in my ‘unique ability’ now coaching & mentoring CEOs and the teams running entrepreneurial companies the more I feel I’m on my game. Malcolm Gladwell said a person needs at least 10,000 hours to be an expert. I’ve been coaching or building entrepreneurial companies for 60,000 hours (45,000 hours alone in the franchising space). No wonder I’ve more than maintained my nerve. My company is growing very fast and I’m helping tons of great companies globally with my coaching programs & training DVDs on leading and building companies.
I realize now that the teachers and professors who told me I didn’t know what I was doing had never built a company. They’d never run great teams of people to lead. They had however perhaps unknowingly destroyed my nerve and confidence for years upon years. Five years ago I started writing down the things I’d accomplished each week. Weekly writing down my successes like this helped re-build my confidence. Now companies that I helped build and lead are case studies in textbooks and are studied at MBA programs around the USA & Canada. And last year I was the highest rated lecturer at MIT’s Entrepreneurial Masters Program. It wasn’t easy but I have definitely got my nerve back.
A quote I read by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 has given me the confidence now that I’m smart and perhaps my teachers weren’t as smart as I thought…
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement.”
For information on this topic, check out: Leadership at 100MPH.