I consider myself to be extremely fortunate. I (somehow) ended up in a career that I really enjoy, that allows me to help others and that helps me to provide for my family. I started doing home inspections professionally in 2001, and soon thereafter started teaching other home inspectors (and Realtors) about the industry. In addition to being certified to teach home inspection licensing courses in 3 states, I have instructed inspectors from 10 different states on how to start, grow and operate their businesses. This amazing experience has allowed me to speak with numerous inspectors at many different points in their careers. While each point of your business brings different and unique challenges, there seems to be an overriding theme to everyone’s questions:
What can I do to help grow my business faster?
To quote Stephen Covey from the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. “In all of life, there are sequential stages of growth and development. A child learns to turn over, to sit up, to crawl, and then to walk and run. Each step is important and each one takes time. No step can be skipped.”
Mr. Covey goes on to explain that everyone realizes that this progress must occur in the physical world; we all know that babies progress from birth to walking in the same manner. No baby comes off the delivery table and runs out the door of the operating room. It just doesn’t happen that way (although it’s certainly funny to imagine!) It takes time for development to happen. Small, incremental gains occur along the way. Eventually, most people learn how to run effectively. If you’ll pardon the pun, baby steps must be taken to get to your ultimate goal.
Think back to a skill you learned in your life. Whether it’s golf, swimming, playing chess, riding a bike or drawing, each skill was developed and nurtured over time. While some people may have a natural propensity for a skill, no one starts playing basketball at the same level as a professional athlete. Even once you’ve developed some ability at hitting a baseball, you certainly wouldn’t think you’d be able to step into the batter’s box and face a major-league pitcher throwing a 102 MPH fastball. You simply can’t go from beginner to elite in one step. It takes time to develop your skills; there really are no over-night success stories.
Unfortunately, as business owners, we often believe that natural, incremental progress is a waste of our valuable time. Many business owners want to go directly from the birth of their business to running a marathon in the Olympics.
“To hell with all that growth and learning stuff, I need to be successful now. I’ve got places to go and things to do!”
It would be wonderful if the world worked that way. Unfortunately, that only happens in the fantasy world of books and movies. Real life involves incremental growth: struggle, failure and learning from your mistakes. Typically, the people and businesses that attain the most success are the ones who make the most of their mistakes, learning from and correcting them more quickly than their competition.
Too many of us are impatient, we want everything right now. We don’t have time to learn; we don’t want to go through a growth and development process.
We want immediate success. Show me the shortcuts!
And if we don’t realize that immediate success, all too often we simply give in. It’s too hard. I don’t have what it takes. Obviously, there’s a trick to it. I don’t know the right people. I’m being kept out. We come up with a million different reasons why we’re not having success, instead of admitting that growth takes time and we are just too impatient to wait.
We should all take a lesson from those babies. Yes, they fall many times when they’re leaning to walk. But, eventually, they all figure it out and are quickly running around the house, breaking things and driving their parents crazy! Imagine if the first time you fell when you were leaning to walk, you simply gave up. “It’s too hard” you would’ve thought, and you would’ve resigned yourself to crawling everywhere you needed to go. There would be full-grown adults crawling all over the place! In addition to being really expensive, having to replace all of those pants with the worn-out knees, it would take you forever to get anywhere! Man, those sidewalks are really hot in the summer time. And don’t even get me started on those damn dogs…
I will leave you with a paraphrased quote from Robert T. Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Winners are not afraid of failing, but losers are. Failure is a necessary part of success. Those who avoid failure at all cost also avoid success.
Keep trying. Keep failing. Keep learning. Keep going. Success often takes longer than you want it to, but not as long as you thought it would.
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