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The strategy will work, if you... Work the strategy!

Posted 2/8/2019

I wish I could give you better news. I wish I could tell you that success was easy. I wish I could tell you just one call, one submission, one request, one presentation, one audition, one practice or one effort is all that’s required to experience abundant and exponential success. I think you knew it already, but it’s not. You already knew it, didn’t you? If we know this, why do we give up on things so readily? Why do we stop trying and judge our results too early? Why don’t we commit to a strategy until we are successful, even if it takes longer that we want?

I have a beautiful little dog, named Joia. She doesn’t understand or accept the word no. It was 2am the other night and Laura and I were doing what we generally do at that time, sleeping! Joia wanted to go outside to wee and explore. When she wants to get our attention, she snorts. So, she started snorting, we both ignored it. She kept snorting and we kept ignoring, hoping she would give up and go back to sleep. No chance. After she realised the snorting wasn’t working, she started squeaking. She squeaked, we lay there hoping it would all just stop, but we didn’t count on the persistence of this little dog. After a while the squeaks turn to barks and it was then we realised she was not going to let up any time soon, until we got up for her that is. Laura got up, it was her turn, and she let the dog out to go and explore for a while. Soon Joia was happy, and we all went to sleep. She was getting lots of rejection, it took longer than she wanted, but she persisted with her strategy, and, it finally paid off.

Last year, and this year already, I have the wonderful experience of talking in many schools to teenagers about self-belief, success, and resilience. I enjoy it immensely and I know the students, and schools, get a lot out of it. Now, at the start of 2019, I speak in at least one or two schools per week. Just over 12-months earlier, I had never spoken in a school before, except as a student and, for a very brief time, a teacher. So how did it come about? I can tell you, it wasn’t luck, contacts, because I played football for St Kilda or because I am an author, as many people seem to think. It’s because I developed a strategy and stuck to it, no matter how long it took.

After the release of my book, Kicking On, the publishers, for some reason, got me a speaking gig at a primary school. I really don’t know why, because the language and content of the book is not directed at that level. I did it anyway, I had fun, I sold no books and I left. As I was driving home, I had an idea. I thought about schools, and whilst primary age children were not the target for the book, secondary age teenagers absolutely were. So, I made a decision that day that I would develop a strategy to start speaking to teenagers in secondary schools.

Don’t judge the results too early.

I got home, I sat down, I switched my strategy-creating brain on, and I came up with a plan. This is the sophisticated plan I came up with;

  1. Create a list of schools.
  2. Ring five schools each day to find out who the appropriate person to speak to is.
  3. Get an email address and then send an introductory email.
  4. Follow up with a phone call to arrange a meeting, drop off a book and discuss coming into the school to speak.
  5. Repeat steps one to four.

Pretty simple strategy, right? Not too complicated, not too sophisticated and I knew it would predictably give me the results I wanted, as long as I stuck to one simple principle. That principle was not, I’ll try it for a week and see how I go. That principle was not, I’ll make the calls if I feel like it. That principle was not, I’ll do it If I can find the time. That principle was not even, I’ll give it three months and see if I get results. That principle was one that most people will not subscribe to, that is to work the strategy until the strategy works, no matter how I feel or how long it takes.

I can tell you, I sent a lot of emails and left a lot of messages that went unanswered. I can also tell you, I heard the word no, many more times that I would have liked. I can tell you, I was told, ‘leave it with me and I’ll get back to you if we have a need,’ repeatedly. What I can also tell you, and what I’m most proud of, is that my success came not through luck, contacts, my scripts or my background. It came as a result of sticking to the strategy long enough for it to bear fruit. I just kept going when I had no results, when I doubted myself and when I felt like giving up.

Then, like magic, after a period of time, which felt like years, people started getting back to me, meetings started getting arranged and I started to get bookings. When that started happening, did I stop sending emails and making calls? No way, I started working harder and doing more. That is my magical secret of success. I developed a strategy and I stuck to it, and continue to stick to it today as I write this. I do the same five calls every single day of the school year. The weekly bookings I get, and the people who now call me to book me into their school, has nothing to do with luck, but everything to do with working the strategy with persistence.

So, we are now at the part of the blog when I ask, what about you? What are you working towards? What are you trying to achieve? What is the strategy you have created for yourself or has been suggested to you? Are you still working the strategy or have you given up because you have incorrectly assumed it doesn’t work? Is that wellness plan taking longer than you want, and so you’re already looking for something else? Are the calls you are making uncomfortable and not returning the results you want? Just what else isn’t happening fast enough that you are ready to throw in, or already have thrown in the towel. The biggest mistake people make is judging results too early.

You see, every call you make, step you take, word you write, email you send, sip of water you take, audio you listen to and every page of a book you read is planting a seed that will grow, on the condition that you continue to do it every day, no matter how you feel. You are right on track, even if you don’t feel like it, or, if the track seems to be leading nowhere. All paths lead somewhere as long as you keep going. Does a strategy sometimes need to be modified? Of course it does, but make no mistake about it, once you have the right strategy, it will work as long as you work it.