Rachel Nies / June 23rd, 2020
Have you ever had a phrase or cliché that just grated on you? You know, sayings like, “It is what it is,” “Only time will tell,” or “Every cloud has a silver lining”?
For me, it’s the infamous “Enjoy the journey.” For some reason, whenever I hear that little nugget of so-called wisdom, my inner self just seems to roll its eyes. I don’t want to enjoy the journey. I just want to get there!
As a natural planner and implementer, I see the start of a project, the finish, and for the most part, am pretty good at mapping out all of the in-between stepping stones to get there.
But, here’s the rub.
At some point, I began to equate success with “getting there,” wherever “there” may be. I thought that when a project was completed, a goal was met, or a new product was launched, then I could put a big ol’ checkmark in the box of success.
You see, many of us tend to think that success is some sort of arrival point and, as such, constantly measure things by how finished they are. But how many things in life or in your print business actually stay finished? Almost everything is cyclical in some way. This leads me to grudgingly admit that there is one truly powerful concept behind the whole “enjoy the journey” thing:
Everything is in transition.
Once you recognize this and start using a transitional mindset, it opens you and your business up for real growth. Let me explain.
As a mother of three teenagers, one of the most comforting things someone has ever said to me regarding my kids was, “Remember, Rachel, they’re not finished yet.”
Oh, what freedom!
Whatever issue or struggle we were facing that day didn’t define my child. It was simply one transitional step, one piece in their life puzzle.
In the same way, there’s no single instance (good or bad) that defines your print company as a whole. You’ll always be aiming for a moving target, and that’s ok. In fact, embrace it!
When things are viewed as complete, you mentally check them off and don’t tend to go back. That leaves things like your website, direct mail or social media marketing, and other significant aspects of your business growing stale under your radar.
Are there things in your print business that you’ve mentally marked done years ago that need revisiting? With a fluid, transitional mindest, you’ll focus your efforts on bettering the process instead of on the finish line, leading to continual improvement your print buyers will thank you for.
You know all of those pesky little (or BIG) things that get in the way of your success? You know the ones: an employee quits, a press breaks, your roof leaks, or a pandemic shuts down the world.
Now imagine what the world would be like without all of those problems… if they simply disappeared.
In reading this, you’re probably thinking this is the part of the blog post where I peddle a mystical product of some kind, and you pony up your credit card information. But, don’t worry – nothing to peddle here except some ideas.
When you start thinking transitionally, you stop seeing all of those “problems” as roadblocks and instead begin to view them as what they are: pathways. To put it another way, problems are simply the issues that direct us from one stepping stone to the next and shake us up a little to do things differently.
Briana West, author of 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think says it this way,
Simply, running into a “problem” forces you to take action to resolve it. That action will inevitably lead you to think differently, behave differently, and choose differently. The “problem” becomes a catalyst for you to actualize the life you always wanted. It pushes you from your comfort zone, that’s all.
So, you there. Are you stuck in the way you’ve always done things? Are you frustrated that these continual “problems” are interrupting your railway to success? Transitional thinking allows you to see problems as mere pathways. It frees you to jump off that linear, one-way thinking and opens you up to dip your toe in the water that lies just beyond your comfort zone.
In some ways, I’m kind of a rare bird. Not only do I work full-time as the Marketing Director here at Marketing Ideas For Printers, but I also homeschool (by choice, not by COVID) my 9th and 11th grader.
That means the gift that keeps on giving in my house is guilt! There’s this constant tension of “am I doing enough?” for both my kids and all of you that I’m helping to sell more printing. I know I’m not alone in this am-I-doing-enough question and that everyone has this thought from time to time.
At some point along the way, we’ve had this idea drilled into us that every thought, move, or decision we make should be driven by passion. While good in theory, we end up paralyzed by the fear that we’re not succeeding because we’re not doing enough.
When this happens, most people go in one of two ways:
Neither of these is a good option. “Nothing” gets you nowhere, and “everything” forces you to overextend yourself, focus on the wrong things, and leads to burnout.
Transitional thinking allows you to focus on the next right choice, the next right step. It helps you recognize that your success isn’t one giant leap from creating your website to sudden overwhelming success. Rather, it’s a series of little choices, tasks, and progress that someday people will notice and think you’re a genius.
Remember my husband, Jeremy, from the 7 Do’s and Don’ts for the Risk-Adverse Printer? One of my favorite stories Jeremy relays to me often when I’m struggling with the am-I-doing-enough question is of financial guru, Dave Ramsey’s, success.
As Jeremy tells it, for years and years, Dave Ramsey and his company sweated and toiled on getting their message out, creating a wealth of content in the meantime. Then, one day, things started to take off for him and even go viral. All of a sudden, all of those years of hard work were seen as a vast library of helpful information, and Dave and his company looked like geniuses. Dave even mentions that if they would’ve had success from the start, they would’ve looked like fools because they wouldn’t have had anything to follow it up with.
Dave’s transitional mindset allowed for no finish line and kept him pressing on in his efforts. Imagine if Dave Ramsey would’ve given up too soon. There would’ve been millions of people who missed out on the valuable insights and helpfulness he offered.
So, all of those little steps you’re taking now…
All of those things will help you eventually reach genius status even though it may feel like sweating and toiling now.
So, forget the finish line, see each transition and process for the blessings it brings, and [cringe] enjoy the journey.