Your Most Damaging Mistake

There is always more than one wayI wanted to take this week to touch on a topic a bit outside of my norm. I’ll keep it short for us though.

Ever hear someone say, “I have been doing it that way for years”? If I had a nickel for every time I heard that line, I would be well into retirement.

I am almost positive that in your lifetime you’ve come across that phrase at least once. The most common time for me is when talking to prospective clients. I get statements such as “we have had the same accountant for years” (10 things when choosing a new accountant) or “we have been handling our financials that way since we started”. I am sure you can think of a time with your own business or personal story where someone has said this to you. I bet you can come up with a time when you’ve used that line. Right now, I want to discuss with you why this is such a dangerous mentality and how you might remedy it’s hold on your life.

So, I am a huge eagles fan. Over the past 10-15 years we have had a pretty decent team. We have been to multiple NFC championship games and lost in the super bowl to a Patriots team that has been a perennial super bowl favorite since Tom Brady took over. We have had great seasons and been close enough to a super bowl that anything short of a super bowl win, at this point, is a failure. People outside of Philadelphia often say, ‘your team is pretty successful; you might as well just keep doing what you are doing.’ But, clearly we haven’t come up with the right formula, the winning formula, so why keep things the same only because we’ve had so much near success?

Business owners do this all the time. They think that just because they have been in business for 30 years that they are doing everything right. And that might be true. But more often than not, businesses, and people in general, underachieve and don’t maximize their potential because they’ve settled for the convenient. And the difference could be costing you more money, more time, and more joy doing what you really love.

Just because something is working does not mean it is at its best, but for some reason people lose drive and settle simply for ‘what works’. But this really begs the question, do you want to win a bunch of games or do you want to win the super bowl? And this could apply to your home life, your business, your hobbies, your anything. But bottom line: if things aren’t going their best then what’s the point? If things could be going better, why not allow for that process?

How to find: ASK QUESTIONS.

Typically people who give the excuses just haven’t really put enough thought into the topic. It is your job to make your team think, and the best way to do that is by asking questions. When you do ask questions, listen very carefully. Many times you will be able to pick up small points of tension that could reveal an issue. But you need to listen closely in order to pick these up. You really need to be honest with yourself, and you need to create an environment of honesty for those around you.

If you have been doing something for a long time, I want to challenge you this week to take a look and see if you are truly doing it the best way. This can be in your business life or personal life. You may find that you are doing exactly what you should be doing, and in that case continue on and have peace of mind knowing you are doing what you should. But you will never know if your life is living up to its best unless you press in to find out. I guarantee there are things you could be doing better. Take some time to assess your business and yourself. Be vulnerable and honest. It will change your life.