Two months ago I hit the apprentice as hard as I’ve hit anyone in fourteen years of building. He had completely blown an introduction to a potential BTL client by talking too much, listening too little, and worst of all he hadn’t caught his mistake. When we debriefed following his epic fail, he gave himself a passing grade. So, I lowered the boom and made sure he knew he had been hit.
Three weeks after his epic fail, he wrote me this.
“I am so mad at myself right now, I can’t believe I did it again. I had the perfect “in” with the potential client telling me he has an employee who’s been with them for 25 years and just isn’t getting it. I didn’t even ask the name of the guy who needs the help. I should have tried to learn what it is that makes him a failure. I should have asked for examples of this guys performance. I should have learned so much more about the guy who needs help. I should have tried to understand what this guy needs before I went into framework – purpose – passions.
I am so frustrated right now. I got stuck trying to “sell” this yet again. I’m having a hard time disconnecting from networking conversations and actual potential client conversations. No wonder no one is hiring me. I wouldn’t hire me if all I heard about was discovering purpose and passions and connecting them to work. F***. Sorry I’m an undisciplined, slow learner. I will fight this tendency until I overcome it. I will f*** up along the way and hurt the BTL brand / band. This was a bad one and I own it.”
The apprentice was beginning to catch his mistakes after he made them – Right after. Good. All elite performers begin by slowing down and looking in the mirror. You can’t become great if you aren’t aware of the gap in your game from good to great. Today, during our pre-dawn practice, the apprentice showed great growth yet again. He is now catching his mistakes as he’s making them. He’s learning to catch himself and the game is slowing down. I can see it in his eyes and hear the difference in his voice. He has been priming himself to master the BTL content without needing to hear himself share his knowledge. He’s asking better questions regarding the framework and when to do what. He is well on his way to becoming an elite builder. He’s just got to commit to keep working. Good.
The enemy, friend, to you becoming elite is your eagerness to feel good. Learn anything to the point of mastery and you’ve got to embrace the pain of not knowing what you’re doing wrong until someone cares enough to tell you. You’ve got to wake up and accept the challenge that good enough isn’t, well, good enough. FD reached elite status as a professional athlete because he worked at mastering his ability to move without the ball. He read the defenses with a sixth sense and found open space like a banchee. When the ball suddenly arrived he turned and slotted it side net like none other. He did this after years of practice and studying what went wrong as much as what went well.
FD is flying toward mastery again. Two months after his epic fail, he’s got two more clients. Two months after his epic fail, he’s got tons more knowledge. Two months after his epic fail, he’s kicked his own harder than I ever could. FD is good. FD’s goal is to be great and he’s gonna be. He is loving practice and loving what he’s learning. He’s catching his own mistakes and instead of getting down, he’s gaining confidence and turning ’em with conviction. What, friend, are you aimed at – good, good enough, or great? Who is helping you by pointing out mistakes you’re missing? What kinda mistakes are you catching on your own? Don’t be too eager to feel good. Focus on becoming good. Aim at mastery. FD’s goal?