Trying something and walking away from it because it's hard is way too common. We see it all the time. I've done it. I'm sure there are times you have done it as well.

"It's too hard" more likely means "I don't yet know how to do it, and it makes me uncomfortable. I'm not willing to spend time learning it." Unfortunately, that also translates to "I'm not willing to improve my skills, situation, or future results."

As someone in the business of helping people improve, that's a hard one to swallow. Too many people take this approach, which makes the bar really low. Seeing people walking away from "hard" things is the perfect opportunity to step in and hone that skill.

Because so few are willing to do it, you won't have a lot of competition at your skill level. They'll try but won't be able to touch you.

The list of things in your day-to-day that people don't want to learn how to do at a level that will make a meaningful difference is surprisingly long. Here are a few examples:

  • Posting and engaging effectively on LinkedIn
  • Following a consistent sales process and changing up the conversation for the buyer’s benefit
  • Using a CRM for tracking and nurturing prospects
  • Finding ways to automate processes or marketing tasks
  • Understanding marketing and the influential role it plays in the sales process
  • Leading company communication to inform the team of what you're doing, why, and how it impacts them
  • Enforcing supervisor communication with individual team members to help connect with them, the company, and their role
  • Planning for the company, sales, marketing, and annual/quarterly objectives
  • Creating and communicating a "why" or "purpose" for the organization that resonates with the team

Any of these items is a way to get ahead of your competition. Put them together, and you can blow competitors out of the water. Hire people for your team who are die-hard learners, always wanting to improve, and competitors won't be able to touch you.

We usually suck at it when we get started

When we start with something, most of us are pretty terrible at it. Think about the first time you made a cold call, wrote a prospecting email, or made a post on LinkedIn. How good did you feel about it?

Knock it out of the park? I doubt it.

How about your first 18 holes, a 5-mile run, or the occasional game at the bowling alley? Self-conscious, right?

It's still awkward and uncomfortable after you do it a few times. And when you stick with the practice and engage some help from a colleague, coach, friend, or helpful manager, you get better.

If you're not pushing through the discomfort and just getting after it, you Will. Not. Grow.

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We struggle to connect to meaningless goals

Oof, I have a distinct learning curve for physical activities, and it sucks. I try something new with some degree of success. I understand what it is, and I can see how it will be fun or good when I get a handle on it, but I'm not there yet. And if I want to learn it, I need to work extra hard to get something new added to my repertoire.

It sucks. But at least I know I have the potential to figure it out with the right work to get me there.

I'll be honest; this difficulty makes me struggle with setting goals, especially SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals. They make me shut down and run away.

Why? Because if I don't know what I'm doing or have any idea of how I will do it, I can't make promises. They will just be lies. Lies to myself and lies to anyone I commit to. Then I'll fail at the goal, start beating myself up, and commit to not trying THAT again.

I need to figure it out first. And when I "get it," I can set a goal. If I were to set a goal such as, "I want to write $X new business or bench press X lbs" without a complete understanding of how I'm going to find the prospects and make the sales or technically how to bench press, it would just be an arbitrary number.

Much like when producers are given a goal such as, "Write $100K in new business." We hear this from producers and owners all the time. Then, we take the producer through a process of establishing goals based on their abilities, and the goal is very different and much more realistic and achievable. Often, it's a larger goal than the manager would have given them, and it's more than they would think of for themselves.

I experience this at the gym all the time. My coach says to me, "Get more weight, Wendy. Give me three more reps." Really? She knows I can do more; she can see it, and it's her job to keep pressing me on weight, reps, and time.

Knowing how far to go can be hard without a fair bit of outside pressure. What's realistic? What's a stretch goal? What's out of reach? You need to find your max. Your today-max. Because that's going to change. You'll have a tomorrow-max that you didn't know you had in you.

If you try something and walk away, you won't know what you're capable of. And without someone pushing you to find that edge, you may never achieve it.

If you want to achieve serious growth, stop quitting when it gets hard.


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Photo by shadowhero