Whether you’ve heard it in this context or not, I'm certain you’re familiar with the theory vs. reality concept in one way or another. Much like a unicorn, the ‘theory’ side of making decisions is always the prettier, more sparkly one. You know, the one you really want to believe in, but aren’t quite sure that it really exists.  

The ‘reality’ side of making decisions tends to be the one where the theory turns from sparkly to a little less shiny, then to a dull glow that was once so much more in your mind. So, what do we tend to do? Focus on the sparkly things, not the dull ones. Unfortunately, that can lead to an unnecessary investment of time, energy, and money. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s talk about finding that all-elusive unicorn balance between the two.  

Just in case you’re need a clearer picture, here’s an example of theory vs. reality.  

Theory: “I found a CRM + Automated Marketing tool that’s going to solve all of my problems. It will send emails out to my client base on a regular schedule, it will track the emails I send to my prospects, it will remind me when I need to follow up, it’s got it all.” 

Reality: It is true, that CRM + Automated Marketing tool WILL work for you and solve a lot of headaches when it comes to managing clients and prospecting. However, for that CRM + Automated Marketing tool to work effectively for you, you’ll have to spend the time entering information, working on your messaging, creating your sales process, and ensuring you’re setting the reminders for yourself, and entering notes in the system. In reality, it takes a lot more time and effort than the ‘theory’ provides.  

This can apply to many other theories, including, but not limited to:  

  • “I’m going to spend one hour per day prospecting, every day.”  
  • “I’m going to invest in this ben admin technology, and it will save all of my clients (and me) so much time.”  
  • “I’m going to use this HR platform for my clients, and they will all use it, understand it, and be so much happier.”  

These are ALL great theories and very valiant efforts to better your agency and your clients’ lives. The challenge is that so many times we find ourselves buying into these theories but not pushing ourselves to fulfill the reality of time and effort that it takes to actually create these habits and make the theories work for you, your clients, and your organization.  

The key to finding balance between these two is fully understanding what it will take to make the theory a reality. And then being honest with yourself whether or not that can really happen.  

I have a theory that I’ll go to the gym five times a week, but the reality is – it’s just not going to happen right now, so I’m not going to set myself up for failure. What is a reality though, is that I can commit to walking three times a week, at 7:00 in the morning, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. When we paint that picture, it helps turn that theory into a much more viable option.  

So, how do you make it come together? As much as everyone wants the easy way out, there simply isn’t one. You’ve got to make time to plan, strategize, and implement. Sure, there are always going to be 1,000 moving parts in any organization. That’s the constant feedback I hear… “There’s not enough time, I’ve got so many things going on, etc., etc.”  

BUT, week after week, month after month, our clients consistently make time for 30-minute all the way to 2-hour calls to talk to us. So the ‘theory’ of not having time is actually ‘reality’ of not MAKING time.  

In order to #GSD and start making the right shifts in your world, you’ve got to quit committing to theories BEFORE understanding the reality of what it takes to make it happen. Otherwise, that SHIfT you’re working so hard to make could end up being some SHIfT you don’t want to deal with.  

Photo Credit: Evgeniya Porechenskaya

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