I was on a call with a friend awhile back and she said something that struck me to the core. She suggested I was comfortable with doing just enough to stay mediocre…average, even. YUCK! The more I thought about it, the more I realized how right she was.
I sold Avon for 19 years and was consistently above average for Avon, but way below my potential.
When I started my social media marketing company, I did about the same. I worked just hard enough to be productive, but not quite enough to breakthrough to super-awesome-amazingness. It may have looked differently from the outside, but I knew what was really going on. And, my bank account knew it too.
I am sharing this in hopes that something might resonate with you. I want YOU to be successful. My intent is pointing out what kept me average will give you some ideas for how to adjust your sails if you are finding yourself stuck.
So, what kept me mediocre?
1. Doing everything in my business From my own bookkeeping to cleaning my house, I did everything for my business and in my household. Looking back, spending a small amount of money for someone else to mow the lawn so I could focus on Income Producing Activities could have made a huge difference in my business.
2. Offering a smorgasbord of services It’s hard to say no to money sometimes, especially when it’s not coming in like you had hoped. As a result, I would say yes to projects that were NOT in my zone of genius. Need a new Linkedin profile, sure, I could help with that. Need a training for your team about…blah, blah, blah. Every time I said yes, I absolutely dreaded doing the work.
In addition, what I continue to find is people want to hire experts rather than generalists. I had to find my lane and stay in it! Now, when I hear a business list off the 10 things she is good at, I ask if she wouldn’t mind me putting on my coaching hat and giving her a different way of looking at it.
3. Working in my business all the time When I was stuck in mediocre, I rarely took time to look at the big picture for my business. I was too involved in the nuts and bolts rather than digging deep into strategy, planning, etc.
4. Over networking There were times in my business when I was attending 2-3 networking events a week, plus scheduling coffee dates, plus attending workshops and other learning opportunities. As a result, I always felt behind. Behind on emails, behind on the actual work I needed to do, etc. One day, I looked at my calendar and thought…the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, so why do I keep doing this with my schedule when it isn’t getting me anywhere?
I think part of what was going on my brain is I just needed to meet MORE people. Build my network…that was my goal. And, yes, that is important. But, what I have now learned is I knew all the people I needed to know to do everything I wanted to do and more.
If you do feel like you are someone who really does need to meet more people, I believe the key is to find the RIGHT people to network with, and that might take a little time.
5. Under following up Honestly, I wasn’t leaving enough time in my schedule TO follow up. But, even if I did have the time, I chickened out a lot of the time…or I sent an email (so passive). I truly believe that since most people don’t follow up – that one thing could have absolutely set me apart.
6. Working from home I convinced myself that I could be productive at home, on the couch or carving out a small spot on the kitchen counter. Dishes to do? No problem…I would just call that a work break. Ha! Working from home also kept me in work mode all the time. I will talk more about this in a moment.
7. Always learning Done is better than perfect. I believe that now, but there was a time when I felt like I needed to know more, to learn more and THEN I would make the decisions in my business that would propel me forward. I got really good at justifying taking weekdays out of my schedule to go to this thing or that. For the most part, I knew much of what I needed to know to start to build. Continuous learning is important, but there comes a time when you need to STOP LEARNING AND START EARNING.
8. Unclear messaging When I hired my friend Nikki Rausch to help me with my sales, (and more), she said, “You know, Tracey, I have known you for a long time and I’m not sure what you do.” Cut to the heart AND was exactly what I needed to hear. In trying to be all things to all people, I had lost track of the plan. And, when I did, I was not-at-all clear in my messaging.
9. No boundaries Answer emails at 9 p.m.? Sure. Make calls and appointments on the weekends? No problem. Here’s what I know. I taught my clients and customers that I was available every moment of every day – and yes, sometimes that’s important. But, in my case, it also meant my family, my friends, and even myself often got put on the back burner.
11. Comcast.net, gmail.com, aol.com email address – For the longest time I had emails like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc. Was that a dealbreaker? Absolutely not, but buying my domain name for email was a really inexpensive credibility boost.
Are you finding yourself stuck in mediocrity? I hope some of what I have shared will help. That was my whole point in writing this. I'm interested to hear your perspective as well.