Last week I sent out the latest version of my newsletter, The Stacker (if you’d like to sign up, check out the banner just above this post). For those of you who’ve been a subscriber you’ll know what a labor this newsletter has been. Twice I’ve sent empty emails to the list (that’ll make you a lot of friends). On this latest installment, I tested the piece about ten times and still managed to sneak in a blank paragraph with gibberish instead of words.
Yeah, that’s not good.
But on the other hand, it’s great.
Sure, if you subscribe and you’re annoyed by my lack of professionalism over the last few months on the Stacker, I’m with you. However, as I create systems for this new brand, my focus is squarely on creating a newsletter that’s consistent, time-worthy, and different than what you’re getting elsewhere.
To do that, I have to focus on my systems.
When I mess up I have two choices. I can either focus on that single problem and groan about just how bad it stunk or I can figure out a system to make sure it doesn’t happen again. While I’ve now failed three times at my newsletter, my systems of creating it have gotten better. Not only will I have a great newsletter but I’ll have the right controls in place to avoid mistakes that others will continue to make.
Where am I going with this? I don’t think this only applies to newsletters.
When I’d work with people on their budget they’d fall of the wagon between meetings and become frustrated. Something unexpected happened and they’d spent more money than they should have, or they didn’t have their family budget meeting that I champion so hard (read Experience the Magic Called a Family Budget Meeting for more on this).
Forget the past. It doesn’t matter what happened. What matters is how you fix it.
Some people fall backward. If you say, “Well, I CLEARLY can’t stay on a budget,” you’ve given yourself the wrong message. What if a child fell down after the third time they tried to walk and thought, “Well, walking CLEARLY isn’t for me!” Wouldn’t that be the wrong conclusion?
I’m sure you’re laughing at the analogy, but isn’t it the same?
Walking, and budgeting are a process. You give it a shot. You mess it up. Then you correct what went wrong and mess up again.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
The only mistake you can make is if you fail to repeat the “repeat” part of the equation, right?
This is the same for investing. I’ve found that people lose money in an investment and decide that they shouldn’t be investing anymore. Rather than learn from the mistake, they quit. (…a great article on how easy it is to understand basic investing is When It Comes to Investing, “Good Enough” is Good Enough at MomAndDadMoney.com).
I’ve seen it happen with real estate, technology stocks, and with preferreds. The investment isn’t the problem, your approach is.
What I’m Not Saying
To be clear, what I’m not advocating is just the old, tired wag of “getting back on the horse again.” If you make ZERO changes to your approach and “get back on the horse,” you’re just going to fall off again and you haven’t moved forward.
Get playful and dream up a tweak.
Try the tweak.
Tweak the tweak.
You can have anything you want.
Budgets can work.
You can invest wisely.
I can create a newsletter that’s mistake-free.
Just wait until you see my next one. I have an idea to make it even better…..
From Big Ben’s Store: Want more on the importance of systems? Nothing convinced me of systematizing my life and work more than The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
by Michael Gerber.
Done by Forty
I love the toddler walking analogy, and the approach of tweaking the tweak. I think a lot of our recurring problems stem from the fact that we think that what we need is greater effort and determination. If we try harder, we’ll succeed. That’s not usually the case with chronic problems. What we need is the right changes/approaches.
Agreed if you aren’t making mistakes, I feel like your not even trying. Being a sports guy, my favorite quote on this is from Michael Jordan:
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Matt @ momanddadmoney
Thanks for the shout out buddy! And I love that Thomas Edison quote. That’s definitely something I’m going to carry with me.
Nobody is perfect, Joe.. and if we are only willing put ourselves out into the world when we have everything perfect– We will quickly be paralyzed with fear and the realization that we can’t possibly know everything..
Stumbling forward is the only way to go… Cheers.
I think it’s reasonable to try and fail at times, especially when it comes to budgeting. We still go over budget all the time. When we do, we try to figure out why and make changes. It still happens from time to time but all you can do is keep trucking =)
Great post! I’m constantly “failing” or “falling” in certain areas of my budget, but I try to make tweaks as I go and keep on keeping on.
I feel this way so often. I always just try to remember that I’m finding great ways to not do something.
I spent 5 years at my first job out of college, so it became really easy. It was too easy to forget the struggle of learning how everything there worked. Now that i’m on my second job in two years, I get really frustrated with myself when I don’t just know how everything should go… I keep trying to remember that I could shoot through things so quickly at that first job because I did spend a year or two learning all the ways to not do something.
Brian @ Luke1428
Love the message here! Whenever I read something like this I always think of Michael Jordan. He made so many game winning shots but missed many more at the end of the game than he made. What made him the greatest player ever was to always come back and try again, even after he failed.