Write poorly, write poorly, just write.
This is what I tell myself in the morning.
Nobody is going to die from amateur-ish writing.
This is my mantra.
And isn’t this really the story of everything?
Who develops competence the quickest?
The person who develops competence the quickest is the one who’s willing to jump in and suck at it in the beginning.
(And maybe in the middle too. And maybe sometimes even at the end. Depending on the day of the week. We all have our moments.)
This is so fascinating to comprehend, for those of us who want to have ALLLLL the information up front, all the knowledge and skills, before we begin. It’s impossible, really. And a waste of time. Yet many of us desire it anyway, don’t we?
This is the writer who wants to take every class and workshop, and read every how-to-write-a-book book, before they will put pen to paper.
This is the sales person who feels compelled to memorize all the forms and understand all the computer programs before they’ll pick up the phone and call a single person to find a lead.
There is no judgment here today, I have long been one of these people.
And as I have slowly learned how to do some things (generally by way of making mistakes) I have -at times- ironically been that person who has looked upon those others who leap into the mix with no experience as foolish, even reckless.
The guy who just got his real estate license is knocking on the doors of every for-sale-by-owner in town. He doesn’t even know how to fill out a listing agreement. What?!
And then he gets six homeowners to agree to work with him in the span of a month.
Guess what? The paperwork things gets sorted out. Somebody at the office helps that guy. He fills in a few things wrong and has to re-do the forms. And yet he got SIX LISTINGS. And the people who sat around clucking over his brashness (like me) got one or none.
How much sense does this make?
What is this fear of going into something unprepared?
I ask myself this question, and I ask you too.
Are you afraid of being judged?
Are you afraid of being rejected?
Are you afraid of being somehow exposed as wrong, bad, or unlovable?
Sometimes we might tell ourselves that we are afraid of hurting others.
I thought about this recently when I told my husband a story about an agent who went on a quest to list ninety homes in ninety days. I explained that this giant push led the agent and his team to be fired by a client (more than one actually) for the first time ever.
My poor husband was horrified.
(He -like me- has a strong desire to do things correctly from the start.)
His immediate reaction was that the agent clearly harmed the clients who fired him, and that the agent’s desire to break through a production ceiling and sell that many homes was in conflict with his obligation to provide quality service to the clients.
I understand this perspective, because I myself have held it.
And as I thought about how to respond, the saying that kept coming into my head was: in order to make an omelet you’ve got to break a few eggs.
These are not eggs though, these are human beings.
So how do we justify doing things poorly?
I don’t know that I have an answer for that question. And yet what I do know is that Realtors are neither medical doctors nor airline pilots. We don’t hold peoples’ lives in our hands.
(Writers don’t either, by the way. Thank God.)
And so there remains a tension.
This tension between going out and doing something, striving and pushing to do more and better, yet at the same time providing the highest possible level of service.
If our service (as sales people) is pitch-perfect, it’s likely either because we have only one client, or we have learned how to incorporate the very best of systems, tools and people into our process.
And yet either way, perfection is the enemy of growth.
That agent who took those six listings in his first month – he clearly didn’t know what he was doing in that moment.
And do you believe that in the second month, he knew a lot better?
He surely got a crash course in writing listing agreements and marketing his sellers’ homes. His colleagues who played it safe in the first month and just read all the documents would still be behind in month two based on the relative experience level.
And that agent who’s goal was ninety listings in ninety days – do you think at the end of ninety days he had increased clarity on how to implement great service at that new level of production? You better believe it.
So what’s a person to do?
Honestly, I am challenged by this tension every day, particularly in sales. And yet I believe that we can mitigate the risk of harming others with our mistakes by surrounding ourselves with experienced and supportive people. We can get help for the things that we don’t (yet) have mastery over.
That assistance is only relevant when we take action though.
So the first step is to just BEGIN.
Get into action.
Make the phone the call.
Knock on the door.
Write the paragraph.
Be honest, be humble, be you.
Ask for help. You will screw things up, do things poorly at first, and you will learn, and you will grow. Ask for help again.