Why You Should Get In Touch With Your "Inner Lazy Ass"
In an effort to get workaholics and control freaks to lighten up, I once suggested "get in touch with your inner lazy ass."
You can work too hard.
It will kill you.
But you can be too lazy, too. In fact, it's in our nature to be lazy. I often tell people that, if you really want to understand how the human race behaves, you must go watch the gorilla cage at the zoo for a week. At first, you'll just see a bunch of hairy apes doing their thing. But soon enough, you'll begin to recognize the many traits they share with us.
Such as... being as lazy as possible, as much as possible.
I was a no-account lazy bum for much of my youth. I enjoyed it, to tell the truth.
But it got me nowhere. When I finally entered the business world, I picked up on the one tactic that actually forced employees to get anything done:
Oh, they can be hateful things, deadlines. Reminiscent of high school papers due, smog tests needed, so-and-so's birthday coming up (when they expect something impressive from you).
And when you finally go out on your own, it can be tempting to abandon them.
Big mistake. As inherently lazy creatures, we need deadlines to be efficient.
Nowadays, I'm a deadline setting monster. But I've lost the resentment I used to harbor because deadlines have made me so much money over the years.
Do you know why most novels never get written? Because there's no deadline. Writers think about the plot for years on end, whittling their thumbs. Come up with brilliant twists while showering. Make vague plans about renting a cabin in the mountains someday and finally finishing the damn thing.
And it never happens.
Because there's no deadline.
Deadlines make your goals become reality. They form a brick wall in the misty netherworld of "tomorrow" that keeps you in line.
Deadlines should be an integral part of your business plan. In most corporations where I've had an inside peek, deadlines are forever allowed to be pushed back. (Thus, they aren't real deadlines.) Committees are formed to "study" the problem, endless focus groups are created to "test" the problem, reams of reports are written and shelved in an effort to "get at the problem."
The ONLY way to attack a problem... is to roll up your sleeves and dig in. And have a plan that includes a friggin' deadline for finishing it.
This is not a small or minor hindrance in your quest for wealth. I recently fielded yet another email from a rookie who claimed to desperately want to become "the best copywriting in the world."
Okay. Fine. But his question reeked of fear - he wanted to know how much time each day he should spend reading books, about copywriting and advertising, and how often he should copy out great ads in longhand.
Not okay. Not fine. This boy is crippled with "can't let the curtain come up" disease. A pretty bad case, too.
Unfortunately... he's got a lot of company.
This kind of question never even forms in the mind of someone truly seeking copywriting expertise. You're too busy making your goal a reality. It's not "how long should I prepare," but what else can I do, right now, to make this happen?"
Action, not excuses for inaction.
You want to get into it up you neck, as quickly as possible. Get the material ready for your first ad (whether it's for your own business or for your first client), do the detective work, write a dozen versions (each one stronger and more focused than the previous), and push for a test mailing or insertion into a publication or posting on the web or whatever.
If you're placing an ad, you'll have a ready-made deadline: The last day for submissions of camera-ready art. If you miss it, you still get charged.
Real life is very unlike high school where you can miss a deadline if you have a "good enough" excuse. In the Big Boys world there are no excuses. Not sleet, nor rain, nor dead of night, nor having your dog eat every paper in your office will get you off the hook.
Scary, yes. But without deadlines, civilization would grind to a halt. Trains would stop running, no one would show up for work, food would not get delivered to stores. You'd be sitting in a cold, dark house without running water.
Yet, if you work for yourself, it can be tempting to cut yourself slack on your own deadlines.
Big mistake. That web site will take forever to get up and running. That phone call to the new prospect will never get made. That book won't get written, the video won't get shot, the ad will never be placed.
I am brutal about my own deadlines. I've never missed a deadline for a client - never - and I'll be damned if I'll treat myself with any less respect. Even so... and even though I know the power of deadlines... I still waffle and hesitate to make them part of my plan for any project. Because they can be painful. You have to forgo pleasures and fun things, sometimes, to meet your deadlines. You have to stay up late, and concentrate and focus and absorb and retain stuff. And it hurts. Mommy! I don't feeeeel well. I need to stay home today.
Nope. Sick or stressed, crashed computer or stalled car, you gotta meet your deadlines. It's good for you. (It's true - nearly all the really successful business owners I know... the ones having fun making their fortunes... rarely get sick.)
It's also another of those little secret traits that set you apart from your competitors, no matter what business you're in. Setting and meeting deadlines is a major form of taking responsibility for yourself. You become the "action center point" of any deal, because you're the guy making everything happen.
And you'll come to love your deadlines, I promise you. Because, once you stop stalling around and making excuses and start setting deadlines... an amazing amount of things will start happening in your life. And you'll be the guy making them happen. Projects will get done, and profits will start rolling in.
It happens fast, and it changes your life almost immediately. So stop whining. Embrace your next deadline. It's your partner.
That's all for today.
[Via - MarketingRebelRant.Com]Birth of a Salesman: The Transformation of Selling in America