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taking shortcuts

People love a good shortcut – that’s part of what makes the job of a marketer a lot easier.

Unethical? Promising a magic pill? You’ll probably get a lot of sales… followed by a lot of  [best case] disappointed/angry customers and [worst case] law suits or even injuries/deaths. Yikes. Not the legacy I want to leave, personally.

Ethical? Got a great solution that involves some work? Roll up your sleeves ’cause it’s gonna take some shit shoveling to convince people that “work” (the ultimate 4-letter word) is worth it. But it’s better in the long run to do the hard work up front, create those trust-based relationships, and be in it for the long haul vs gunning for the quick cash (that can and will be taken by alphabet agencies).

I digress.

The point I’m trying to make is everyone wants a good shortcut.

And honestly I don’t really know of any aside from consistently showing up and doing the work…

EXCEPT

Finding someone to mentor you.

Hear me out…

I know it sounds like a pitch – and full disclosure, I do offer coaching. But that’s not what this is about. I’m not trying to sell you so much as prevent you from going down the path I did.

When I started out, I was a particularly stubborn asshole who was absolutely convinced not only that she COULD figure it all out on her own… but that the only way to be truly successful WOULD be to figure it all out on her own.

If I could go back in time and punch myself in the face, I would.

The fact is, I wasn’t scoring extra brownie points for being the smarty pants to figure it all out solo. Neither will you.

I was essentially hitting my head against the wall, and instead of stopping and thinking, “that hurts… maybe I shouldn’t do that”, I’d back up even further so I could hit RAMMING SPEED and maybe, hopefully, finally break through that wall to the success that was on the other side.

Look folks – we all have blind spots. If you need someone or something to blame, blame it on that squishy lump of gray stuff between your ears. There’s only so much info your brain can process, so it winds up filtering out a lot of shit in the interest of surviving (and not constantly being overwhelmed to the point of shutdown).

I’ll never forget the first time I asked my good friend Tim Woo how he became the go-to guy for one of my writing heroes, Kevin Rogers. And Tim told me, “I followed, I listened, and one day he said kinda off-handed that there was this one thing he didn’t know how to do. I reached out and said, ‘I know how to do that, can I help?’ and it just kinda snowballed from there.

Such a simple concept.

But it had literally never occurred to me that one of my heroes… might be human. Might need help.

And if one of my heroes might need help… and I’m ALSO human… maybe I need to rethink this Superwoman stance I’ve taken and reevaluate my actual capabilities vs the ones I WISH I had.

Maybe I don’t HAVE to figure it all out and pretend I’m a Marvel superhero whose literal job is to save everyone.

So the point is… there really aren’t any “magic pill” style shortcuts that will have you zipping directly to the top.

You have to put in the hours to get good, period.

But there IS a way to get there QUICKER… and that’s by being the kind of person who seeks out perspective and feedback, who is gracious about accepting help (and realizes that some of us get great joy from helping others and it’s not actually the burden you’ve convinced yourself it is).

Pride goeth before a very, VERY long fall.

So maybe tell it to take a hike, because you’re focused on getting better, fast.

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