For a number of years, I heard that statement over and over again. And strangely enough, most of the times I heard it, I was the person asking the question. I have to admit that I was very slow to realize a few clearly obvious truths that blocked my initial progress into entrepreneurship.
It was my plan to just watch and learn what things successful people did and follow their examples. The idea seemed very logical to me, so why did it not work in the way that I had planned? Well, it didn’t work because there was a flaw in what I was doing and also in what I was expecting. I found myself constantly being frustrated by the results or by what I believed I was to do along the way.
The reality of following the steps made by someone else to reach your goal is never a good idea, even though it seems logical. Certainly, you can learn from what someone else has done, but you would be extremely fortunate to be able to duplicate their success by simply following their exact same steps.
So, here is an illustration that might help you. It is an illustration that a wealthy business associate of my mentor shared with me. He and his family were on a long road trip across the country. While visiting relatives who lived near the southern California area, he had dropped by for a short visit.
He gave me this particular illustration, I suppose, because I had really pressed him very hard to tell me EXACTLY how he had been able to create and build a successful business without having any previous experience. I clearly remember, I wanted to know every single detail about everything. It was only months later that he told me just how much I had gotten on his last nerve that day. But, “All is well that ends well!”
In the middle of my questions, he said to me – “Have you ever been to Oxbow Bend, Wyoming?” My reply, “Not yet. Why?” He said, “It is perhaps my favorite place to spend time. There are places there I could take you that once you see them, you will never forget them. They are absolutely breathtaking.” I said, “That’s nice. Maybe one day I will have a chance to visit the area. But, can we get back to talking about how you grew your business?”.
He said, “I am telling you. Just listen and you will understand”. Here is his illustration that completely helped me to refocus correctly.
“If you have never been to Oxbow Bend, Wyoming, there are two basic ways you can get there. Either someone will take you or you will have to travel there yourself.
To get there yourself, you will have to follow some type of road map. And, the road map will have to be valid, so you will need to make sure of that. Then, assuming you are going to be driving a car, you will need to be sure that you are prepared to handle any contingencies that might occur during the journey. Given that, what questions would you have to ask me about whether you could make the trip to Oxbow Bend from here?”
I had no questions for him because I was confident that I could drive to Wyoming if I chose to do so. He then said, “if I told you that the last time I visited Wyoming, I used a particular road map to get there and it is all marked up with all of the important notations and things to watch out for, etc. And I am willing to give it to you to help you, would you accept it and use it?” My answer, “Of course, I would greatly appreciate having it”.
So he took a moment, left our table at the restaurant where we were, went out to his car and brought me back his map. I opened it and then said to him, “You know, I really can’t use this map!”. He said, “Why not, doesn’t it show you how to get to Oxbow Bend, Wyoming?” I said, “Yes, it does – but I can’t use it because it starts out from some place in West Virginia. To use this particular map, I would have to first get to West Virginia before this map would be of any practical useful to me.”
His next words still ring true.
He said, “Exactly! Unless you are starting from the exact same place I started from, your path to Wyoming has to be a different path.”
And so it will be with your quest to succeed in the business world. Each successful path toward business goals will be different for each person. However, there will always be similarities, but seldom will they be exact duplications.
Don’t focus so much on learning my precise business steps. Focus instead on being able to develop your own “road map to success” and then be able to measure your progress as you are going along the way. If you do this, you can always continue to make progress toward your goal, even if you have to make detours along the way.
No two people will start their business journey from the same place. To carry the Wyoming example even further, no two people will travel to Oxbow Bend, Wyoming beginning from the exact same place, starting at the same time, travel at the same rates of speed or drive using the same exact cars, etc. Each path will be different.
To become successful, you will always need to consider not only where you want to go, but where you are starting from, what your starting resources are, etc. You must also decide how to best utilize these resources so that you can safely complete your journey.
The process of growing a successful business is a great deal easier if you think of doing it this way instead of blindly trying to follow exactly the steps made by someone else.
This article was written by SDK Hunter Consulting Group
About The Author:
Sherman Hunter and SDK Hunter Consulting Group staff consultants provide global moneymaking opportunities and proprietary strategies that quickly accelerate business activity. You may familiarize yourself with these unique concepts by visiting the SDK Hunter Consulting Group blog located at: http://sdkhunter.com
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