Don't Make This Idiotic Mistake-Build Your List


 Don't Make This Idiotic Mistake-Build Your List

Most of us are guilty of what I like to call the "gigantic mistake." Whether it's starting a new project you hope will be your masterpiece or supplying something to a customer that you know won't sell, we rush in with grand aspirations and make a big mess of things. The gigantic mistake is all too common because there is still an allure to it-the idea that without taking care, anything could become reality.

It's so seductive. I'm reading a book right now called "Think Like A Freak." In it, the authors state that something like 70% of people believe they are above average drivers. So if you think you're a good driver, then you're just like the rest of us. But what about when it comes to starting your business or producing your art? Can we be objective about our work and not think we've created the next DaVinci?

If you don't believe me, here's an example from the book:

"Two farmers each breeding bulldogs come up with two very different-looking dogs. Manuel, the farmer who goes to the dog show, is impressed when he sees how well-trained and elegant his dog is. He wants that kind of training for his dogs. His friend Tomas, on the other hand, has never been to a dog show and doesn't realize how much better his dog's breeding and training are. Tomas thinks they're both doing okay because he can train his dogs as well as Manuel can. After watching some dogs from a distance at a show, Tomas decides to get more involved with breeding and training his dogs. He purchases top-end equipment and books top trainers but still isn't getting anywhere near the level of expertise that Manuel has. Tomas is applying the 'if you build it, they will come' mentality. He thinks that if he spends money on having a dog show, he'll have more customers. He's well-meaning and wants to do the right thing, but what he's doing isn't working. Meanwhile Manuel has done everything right and has been rewarded with just as many customers as Tomas."

But here's the thing: we all know that we are creative people who can think up new ideas and schemes all day and night. What do you suppose happens when you put yourself in our seats? The same thing that happened to those two farmers!

Let me tell you a little story about myself. This is the first time I've ever shared this story, and I can tell that it's going to sound kind of silly. Let me know if it doesn't; there are always a few readers out there who love to hear stories involving butts.

Let's call me "Doggie."

I used to be a professional dancer. Okay, well maybe not exactly like that-you see, I'm not one of those individuals who moonlights on Broadway and tours Europe with their dog as their costar. No, I was in the local dance troupe here in town, working as a ballerina performing for children mostly at schools around town to help raise money for some charity or other. We even participated in one of the state competitions for schools with a dance team. You also might have seen me trotted out at some of the Christmas parades. I was that kid who you saw on stage dancing and waving, rocking back and forth to the music as I tried to keep my skirt held up in front of me and maintain a smile on my face.

So it's not quite that kind of dance career. In fact, you probably wouldn't have seen me anywhere other than at shows for some charitable cause, maybe making an appearance at an event or two when they needed another dancer but didn't want to pay all the professionals to come along for the ride.

Conclusion: this means I was working in a very low-level job, with no distinguishing talents or skills.

And I'm going to tell you the rest of the story just in case you think it's not possible for a professional dancer to end up in such a situation. Let me just preface this by saying that after leaving my dance career behind, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. You see, I was never "trained" for another profession, so all these questions about what field I should get into and whether or not it would be right for me were completely new territory and pretty terrifying.

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