It’s something I don’t talk about often, and maybe I should, but I came from a physically abusive home. My step-father growing up used to act out his dysfunction by knocking me around, throwing things, yelling, what have you. As sick as this may sound, I’ve been realizing more and more lately how valuable having a “dysfunctional” childhood was.
Business is dysfunctional. Life is dysfunctional. Pick yourself up and get over it.
At the end of the year it’s hard for an entrepreneur not to look back at the closing year, to look at ROIs or P&Ls and your Quickbooks export of choice. That’s natural, that’s healthy. Looking over them myself, it’s hard to ignore the amazing year that we’ve had. Sales are up, expenses are down. Not a bad way to have spent twelve months.
We made some mistakes, we maybe burned a bridge or two, but that’s life. We’re doing business outside of the U.S. for the first time, with recent projects in Brazil and the UK and soon we’ll be invading Canada. For every bit of bad news we had last year there were ten things right around the corner that I never expected to be doing back when I was that scared little kid hiding in the dark.
What getting knocked around taught me as a kid, was to simply make due and move on. If I ever said “but…” or tried to argue with my jailer or make-up some excuse it just never ended well for me, so I learned quickly to make do, to adapt. Business can be just as unforgiving, and you must learn to adapt to any situation if you want to survive.
Reflecting on a record breaking year, looking at our website and our outreach, and checking out what others are doing with their own, I was surprised to see how many competitors of ours have completely scrapped their marketing and started over. I hardly recognized most of them aside from their name or maybe a logo.
The thing is, when you scrap your marketing, when you start over, it’s a lot like giving up. It’s really easy to accidentally discard all the things that were working in the hopes of getting it perfect next time, and instead of adapting (which is LOADS cheaper, trust me) these folks are on their fourth or fifth iteration of the same old wheel and having to buy PPC ads because they still don’t show up organically like a good SEO should.
Now I’m not advocating that someone goes and kicks our competitors asses for me so they can learn (mostly because we’ve done a plenty good job of that on our own) but could you imagine how much more trouble we’d be having if I hadn’t gotten my ass kicked as a kid and learned to just say “Ok” and figured out how to make the best of any situation? Life isn’t going to wait for you to figure it all out, perfect is a myth, you need to adapt and start kicking some ass of your own.
Eventually, knowing that what was happening to me was wrong, having had police tell me my injuries could be self inflicted for all they knew, I realized that nobody was going to help me if I didn’t help myself. I made noise, I pushed my jailers buttons, I made sure it was unmistakeable that I was getting knocked around and that the family found out.
I saved me. I didn’t wait to be rescued, I didn’t wait for better conditions.
No one is coming to rescue your business either. If you want to succeed, if you want to kick some ass instead of getting yours kicked, you have to get up off your ass and make it happen. Don’t make a 2013 resolution, take action today instead.
My favorite quote to this day, from Leo Babauta “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”