When I used to teach the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira, new students would come in for their first class and watch the more advanced students doing flying kicks and ariel cartwheels.
“Wow, how long before I can do that?” some would ask.
“Oh, in a few thousand push ups and sit ups,” I would usually reply.
I become one of those over-eager beginners the other night when I was sparring for my belt tip test in mixed martial arts. Our instructor was telling us to develop our vision for seeing holes and gaps in the other person’s defense.
“Do you see that?” he would say to us, as he demonstrated sparring with a student and pointing out what seemed to be obvious drops in defense.
“Yes sir!” we all said, quite smugly, since it was so obvious.
Obvious, that is, until we were the ones sparring. Tried as I might to be one step ahead and see the gaps in my partners’ defense, I was so busy trying not to get pounded in the face that I felt totally blinded to what movement she was going to do next.
Sometimes, you get advice from an expert that embarrasses you because you should have known better.
“What you need to do immediately is create a high-end mastermind program.”
“If you would have sent a third message in your follow up sequence, you would have closed 32% more sales.”
“If you had an upsale prepared at your live event, you could have made 50% more money from the event.”
Great advice, all of it, when you are ready to hear it.
What trips up new entrepreneurs
The problem for new entrepreneurs is when you try to hold beginner, intermediate and advanced advice in your head at the same time. You have not had enough experience with the basics to have the vision and capacity to deliver the fancy twists and subtle enhancements. If you are not careful, you fall into these patterns that I see every day with my clients:
- Instead of just writing your ebook, you get worried about the three tiers of affiliates you want to cultivate for it.
- Instead of getting your sales page ready for your January class, you spend 47 hours reading everything Sonia Simone has ever written about sales letters on Copyblogger.
- Instead of pitching a talk at your local Rotary Club to promote your personal training business, you attend a high-priced seminar on branding so you can choose the perfect tagline and color for your website.
- Instead of trying to secure a local sponsor for your first live event, you wonder how to get Richard Branson to Skype in from Necker Island.
Observe the greats
One day, as you are quietly doing a great job on the basics, you will get a flash of insight about how to improve things that will make sense and that you have the capacity to carry out.
I can’t wait for that point in my training when I am three steps ahead of my sparring partner and make her dizzy with my speed and counter attacks.
For now, I am quite satisfied with squats, push ups and basic drills.