Do you ever wonder why you’re not as successful as you’d like to be? Don’t you feel like someone as intelligent as yourself should be doing much better?
Last night I had dinner with my friend Anthony Miller and we were talking about this. Anthony is a very successful sales consultant and has a very deep understanding of human behavior. He shared with me that he speaks in front of 10,000 people every year. Most of these people love his presentations, but Anthony admitted that maybe only 5% of the people he trains actually do something with the information they get.
The 95% Rule
Anthony calls this the 95% rule. Why is it that 95% of the people think something is a great idea but don’t turn that idea into reality? He explained that there’s a difference between perceived obstacles and real obstacles. Most people think that some things are much harder than they really are. Let me give you an example.
Last month I went to a conference where the three speakers were founders of companies with over $500M in revenue. There were 800 people in the audience. After the presentations I approached the three speakers and got their business cards. The next day I called them and offered to buy them lunch. Guess what? All three said yes. When I asked them how many people invited them to meet in person, the answer was “only one: you”. Do you know why this happened? Because everyone else assumed they would say “no” so they didn’t bother to ask.
Susan’s Story
Three weeks ago Susan, a photographer in Portland, approached me and asked me what she should do to start a photography business. She said that there was “so much to do that I don’t even know where to start”. I told her not to freak out and I said, “I think you already know what you need to do.”
She looked at me confused. I asked, “if you had to take a guess, what would you say you need to do to start a photography business?” She said, “well, I already have all the equipment, so I guess I need a website, business cards, ask my friends to spread the word, possibly create a partnership with video professionals, wedding planners… You know, that kind of stuff.”
She knew exactly what she was supposed to do. When I asked her why she had been putting this off for so long, she said, “well, I figured if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it!” I started laughing. I knew exactly what she meant. But the truth is that 95% of people know exactly what to do but just don’t do it. It’s kind of sad, but that means less competition for the rest of us, right?
Stop complaining about the economy. In this economy there are millions of companies (big and small) that are extremely profitable. So, what’s it going to be? Are you going to keep wishing or are you going to make things happen?