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Knievel your way to success?

Had an interesting call last Thursday from a young couple in their mid-twenties who just joined the network marketing company of which I am also a successful distributor (explore it here).
Unfortunately, he had drunk the purple kool-aid offered by his upline and was quitting his minimum-wage job (and urging his young wife to do so with her job, too), to pack up and move to California and start building his sales team. He had no real skills, no real experience in sales or network marketing, and, most of all, he was a french-quebecker who had some english language skills but was not fluent.
Yes, his dream is to climb the cliffs of Yosemite (he is an accomplished climber)… but to chuck it all to uproot a young family and risk it all, well, this guy’s bravado worried me…
Is it possible to jump, in one leap, from one is now to where one wants to be? Remove all safety nets, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead?
It is said that an ancient warrior general once landed his army on the shores of a hostile enemy, then ordered the boats to be burned so that there was no chance of second thoughts among his men.
This young man had already “burned his boats”, quit his job, terminated his apartment lease, sold his belongings and was ready to leave within a week when he called me on the urging of a friend (thank you, friend!)
I love bold visions, but what troubled me was the complete lack of an execution plan other than to throw himself into the situation over there and hope he could swim. To do this as a single guy is one thing, but as a small family with two small kids borders on the irresponsible (where was his upline in all this?) This is what bothered me the most, the lack of preparation.
Yes, it is important to fully commit to what you want to create, however doing so with insufficient preparation or experience or planning is simply an invitation to disaster. Why make your task harder or riskier than it needs to be?
That’s why I believe that while it’s important to set high objectives, to reach them one must break those objectives into areas of focus, which I call “projects”, then intermediate markers, “milestones”, and daily actions “heartbeats”.
Each project focuses on a specific aspect of the overall result, i.e. if my goal is to increase my profits for 2006 to $100k, then I’ll have a project called “marketing”, another called “systems”, another called “website”, etc. Each project has intermediate milestones which are tangible results created by changing one variable at a time – the concept of iterative prototyping (change one thing then test it, keep it if it works then change something else). Finally each daily action “heartbeat” is a specific task that takes between one and three hours to achieve, leading to a tangible result.
Before plunging into reaching for a big goal, I believe the projects and milestones need to be laid out, creating a strategy for success. It’s like my favorite strategy for running a marathon, to view it as a sum of short, steady 10-minute runs punctuated by 1 minute walking breaks.
Fear caused by burning boats is a very dirty fuel for success. Fear leads to making rash decisions that eventually cause regret.
Confidence comes by laying out a strategy, then developing tangible heartbeats of results that confirm or influence the strategy.
This is what I do not like about many of the motivational speeches of gurus. They exhort you to dream big and then throw yourself to your goal.
Dream big, yes, but with your feet solidly on the ground.
I was silently relieved when he called me the next day and said he was going to take my advice and take it one step at a time by moving to another region here in Québec where he could still stay in touch and learn how to successfully build his sales team, first in French. I look forward to coaching this brave young man to the success he really wants…
(by the way, his big big dream is to summit each of the 14 8000m peaks around the world… I bet you’ll be hearing a lot more of this guy! 🙂

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