We often get complacent in life where we get into that comfortable state and stop pushing ourselves. There isn't anything wrong with that but I see part of being human is always challenging yourself and pushing beyond what my limits are today. This doesn't mean that I am setting myself up for failure or pushing myself beyond my capabilities. I look for opportunities that I know if I devote the energy that I will succeed. I am going to go over two different short stories that I can say one I have personally conquered and the other I am currently working on conquering. How each of them has made me a better and well-rounded member of society and I feel prouder of my existence as a person.
I have had an arch enemy called plumbing for as long as I can remember. This nemesis of mine is something that has lasted literally hundreds of years and people around me have been doing it superbly for that entire time. I always considered plumbing my kryptonite when it comes to my capabilities. None of which is that I considered plumbing being covered in crap which no one would ever want to be. I knew this was a weakness and had two options. I had the easy path of hiring one of the experts and letting them do everything or take the challenge on and learn to be good at it (note: I didn't say "expert"). To start I cracked open YouTube and learned the 30,000-foot view of what plumbing is, proper angles for waste water, proper pressures, etc. This gave me a fundamental knowledge of what plumbing is, how intricate it can be, but also, I had gained acceptance that I could beat this.
I took this new-found knowledge and went to the local store. I talked to the clerk (yes guys do this) and explained to her my story of how plumbing was my nemesis and I wanted to beat it. I grabbed some elbows, extensions, pipe, torches, pipe cutter, and soldier. I then went to town on learning to cut, prep the pipe, and soldier. I went through several pieces of pipe and more soldier than I should have but in the end my joints were true (not pretty), a few burn marks on my skin, and I had enough practice and confidence that I knew I could solve the problem myself when it came to conquering it in the real-world.
About five handyman helper homes that I purchased and later sold I consider myself "good". On the larger projects I did call the experts in as it was beyond a simple fix that a do-it-yourselfer should do. I am not by any stretch of the means an "expert" but know that I can do a lot of the smaller projects with confidence without feeling I will fail. I am capable, not afraid, and each time I do it I know I can do it and get better. By pushing myself outside of my comfort zone I am now more well-rounded and capable of helping others.
Being an entrepreneur
If you've read any of my past posts you know I have been an entrepreneur even before that word existed. In 2012 the true force of being one came to light and JM2 started. I had no experience in doing any of this and if you truly look at how it all started one would think and bet rightly so that we would fail miserably. Having a very strong determination to not fail has greatly helped in this process to be successful. Doing a lot of research on over 100 companies (probably closer to 200 companies) has only been the beginning of the process over the past five years. By studying others, seeing what they've done, imitating what they do well, and not doing what we didn't feel was right we are achieving success.
Creating a plan for success has been key to our success. The plan was nothing complex, not some 100-page document and actually fits on a single double-sided piece of paper. To achieve this success what has been done is actually the simplest of things and sticking to it. I believe everything can be simple and there is no reason to make things more complex than they need to be.
It comes down to not spending more than we are making. Negotiating lower pricing and passing it onto our clients rather than increasing our profits, and of course sticking to who we are of being honest, secure, continually working on and improving our customers service, and making certain every decision is as green to the planet as possible. That all sounds simple and yet equally challenging at the same time.
One of the biggest items we've done to stay the course, constantly grow, and to improve each week is to:
- Sit back every Sunday night and evaluate the past week of what went right, what went wrong, and are we on the initial course we set out years ago.
- Course corrections. We adjust for the upcoming week based on that review of the past week which happens even when on vacation as a true entrepreneur works seven days a week. This allows us to never get more than seven days off course which has happened a few times and becomes less frequent each week.
- We keep a completely open business model where every Friday (sometimes this happens on Saturday or Sunday) a "weekly status" is sent to the team of the 30,000-foot items that have happened in the past week. Every team member has equal say (of course, the owners are always able to override).
- If someone sees something wrong they don't just say "hey this is broke" but rather "hey this is broke and here are a few ways of making it work the way it should". We are all free thinkers and equal when it comes to wanting to improve.
To the outsiders we look like a fast, growing, and unbeatable machine. We laugh at that as we are so close that we see more flaws that my plumbing nemesis seems like a cake walk. The reality is we are really good at what we do and every day we ask ourselves how can we be better. We are constantly told that we are doing "everything right" and we consider this as a challenge to be better. We are a group of experts that are constantly pushing and evolving to be better.
You can live and be comfortable or you can push yourself, fail, get backup, and become better. Both options are correct answers and everyone has the free will to choose what they want. I so happen to have chosen to constantly push myself and grow each and every day.