“Status quo, you know, is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in’.”
-Ronald Reagan, 40th American President
What does it take to succeed? To achieve your goals? To create positive change that sticks?
It requires the willingness and courage to shake things up. You also must endure the discomfort that comes from disrupting the status quo, that comfortable but unsatisfying state you currently reside in. You choose to focus on the desired future as you take necessary action in the present.
Think about success as the process of making an omelet. As you picture a delicious fluffy omelet as your end result, you must also crack open a couple of eggs to get the process started.
Let me tell you a story.
One of my earliest jobs was selling magazine advertising in the global yachting industry. I was less than a perfect fit for the position. I knew nothing about boats or yachts and never sold advertising before. Nonetheless, I convinced the publisher I had what it takes to succeed.
Jumping feet first into the niche world of marine publishing, I quickly learned that small industry-focused publications get advertising support from a close-knit group of industry influencers. Success depends on strong client relationships created at boat shows, events and cocktail parties. Not on hard data.
Since I couldn’t manufacture those types of relationships overnight, I decided to take a different tack. I would use data.
My publisher had researched our competitors’ magazines and discovered discrepancies in their claimed circulation and what their audits showed. I was curious to know what the competitors’ advertisers thought about these discrepancies, even though our magazine didn’t even have an audit.
Here’s what happened.
I sent a couple of emails. The blowback was immediate and painful.
The publisher stormed into my office. He’d received numerous calls from the other magazines about a new rogue salesperson who had dared to upset the proverbial apple cart. He demanded to know what I had done.
My heart sank. My face flushed with heat. I made a mistake thinking that it was a fair selling point to question the integrity of the competitors’ circulation data.
I forwarded the emails to him and waited in shame.
A few agonizing hours later, he returned to my office. He sat down and looked at me without expression. Finally, he smiled and said, “Jo-Aynne, to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs.”
He liked what I did and didn’t see anything wrong with it. After all, we were #3 in the industry; what did we have to lose? Perhaps my straightforwardness could be softened. Diplomacy does have its benefits. However, generally, he liked the approach. Soon after, it became the basis of a strategy that would move us ahead of the competition.
Here’s what I learned.
To succeed at anything requires a shift in the status quo. Most people don’t like disruption. To either be the cause of it or be on the receiving end. Change forces everyone has to get off of autopilot and start being more aware and intentional.
If you are looking to succeed in some area of your life, try to look beyond the immediate discomfort of doing things differently. It’s true that when you don’t know any better, you’re less scared. Once you become a bit wiser and understand the consequences of a wrong decision or action, you tend to be more reserved. However, sometimes it pays to think like a newbie. When you do, you come to a situation with fresh eyes and added energy to move you to higher territory.
As for the other magazines? They never got comfortable with what I did, but it did incentivize them to level-up their game. Eventually, circulation numbers became the new standard. All the publications became more focused, strategic and innovative. In the end, it was the advertisers who won with overall higher quality circulation.
Don’t let the sound of cracking eggshells concern you too much. Breaking a couple of eggs is just what you need to prepare yourself with the strength, resilience and courage you’re going to need to see your success to the finish line.
Go ahead. Break a few eggs and take action on your dream omelet today.
- Where are you stuck in your career, business or life?
- What decisions or actions are you afraid to make or take?
- What eggs need to be cracked open in order to move forward for your success or happiness?
Thanks for reading. Until next week,
Jo-Aynne von Born, Certified Professional Coach
Leadership and Executive Success, Coaching, Training, Speaking
→ Feeling STUCK or FRUSTRATED with a situation in your life or career? Join my live, online workshop Sat, Sept. 12. Learn to use your strengths to unlock a new way forward. Transform a challenge into a REAL chance to succeed.
(reprinted from my Authentic Success newsletter. Sign up to receive it free here.)