We will start today with a slight distortion of a quote from author Nick Hornby’s 2005 Novel A Long Way Down: ‘A business is hard to build yourself, piece by piece, with no instruction book and no clue as to where all the important bits are supposed to go.’ Hornby’s original line was about the difficulty of rebuilding yourself, but it certainly applies to us, as we build our businesses.
It is difficult to start a new venture, especially for those of us with a minimal amount of business training. Problems arise, and we must figure out how to handle them. This can be particularly stressful for home inspectors, as we are typically ‘on an island’ when it comes to our local business associates, otherwise known as our competition.
Without anyone to commiserate with around the water cooler, we usually find ourselves left to our own devices, without a teacher or mentor to go to for advice. This usually means that plenty of mistakes will be made along the way. We will encounter problems and hurdles that must be dealt with if we are to keep climbing the path to success.
Once we have reached a certain level of success in our industry, we often (mistakenly) think that our problems will disappear.
Obviously, I’ve been doing this for a while now, and I’ve been through all of the problems already…
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. A better way to think of it is that the problems are still there, but we have become more experienced, better able to identify and manage the problems. We are often able to deal with problem situations before they develop, carefully observing as they approach and swiftly taking the necessary actions to mitigate the situation.
Achieving this ultimate state of ‘Business Ninja’ can only be reached through experience: learning the (often painful, embarrassing and costly) lessons of business. The two main ways that we learn these valuable lessons are either through our personal experiences, where we are the ones that are actually writing the check to make everything right, or through other’s experiences, where typically the only check we write is to buy the book or pay for some class sessions.
The value of experience, first-hand or otherwise, cannot be understated. Every time we learn a tip or figure out a different way of doing something that keeps us out of a problem situation, it gets us one step further along the path of success.
Yes, we will often slip and fall on the path, scraping our hands and knees in the process. But the more we learn about the path, where the tripping hazards lie and which pitfalls to avoid, the surer our steps on the journey to success.
I will leave you with another distorted quote, this one from author Steve Maraboli’s novel Life, the Truth and Being Free: ‘Business success is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.’ Keep learning in everything that you do, and business success (and the ninja ability to rise above the inevitable problems) will follow.
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