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The Success/Failure Fairy Tale7 Min Read

The Success/Failure Fairy Tale7 min read

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We all want to succeed and nobody wants to fail. Most of us can agree on that, right?

But there are some really big problems with our ideas of both success and failure. And if you don’t get straight on them, you’ll continue to struggle with them.

The definition of success is: “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”

The definition of failure is: “not accomplishing an aim or purpose.”

With success, you get what you set out to get. With failure, you don’t.

When it comes to marketing your professional services, we’ve all had our share of successes and failures.

We’ve all landed some wonderful clients and many prospective clients have slipped through our fingers.

That’s success and failure in a nutshell.

In reality, in the here and now, there is no problem with success or failure. We win some, we lose some. We keep at it and we continue to win some and lose some.

If we looked at success and failure in this simple way, we’d all do just fine.

But we don’t do that, do we?

No, we manufacture stories about success and failure.

We add meaning to success and failure.

We add significance to success and failure.

We turn success and failure into dramatic fairy tales.

This story might make this a little more clear.

There was once a man who struggled to succeed in his marketing. He thought when he lost a new prospective client he was a failure. And he really wanted success.

So he studied with a marketing strategist for a year and, even when he won a new client, he always thought that he could have closed a bigger deal.

Still not feeling successful, he studied with a motivational psychologist for two years. He landed some huge clients by setting big goals but became burned out.

Next, feeling somewhat under-appreciated, he hired a social media company to raise his profile. He got lots of speaking engagements and podcast interviews but ended up feeling like a phony.

In chasing success, he got some of it, but he still felt like he was missing “real success.”

Finally, he came to me, and now, when he wins a client, he wins a client. When he loses a client, he loses a client.

End of story.

When you win a client, you win a client, when you lose one, you lose one.

You don’t need to add a story to what it means to win or lose:

I.e., “If I win, I’m OK, if I lose, I’m not OK.”

This doesn’t mean you give up, it simply means you live in reality, not fantasy.

It doesn’t mean you don’t try several different marketing strategies, set high goals, or engage in social media.

It does mean that whatever you do, you ultimately get what you get. But only always.

With this insight, you can stop making up fairy stories about success and failure:

“I should always be successful and never fail.”

“When I succeed I’ll be totally happy.”

“I shouldn’t even try if I’m likely to fail.”

“People who work hard never fail!”

“Winning isn’t the most important thing, it’s everything.”

On what imaginary planet are these true?

And what happens if that win-lose, story-making machine stops running?

Your marketing becomes fun, it becomes a game. You don’t obsess about winning or losing. You put more attention on learning, engaging, and making a difference.

But you knew this already, right?

You know that winning or losing doesn’t define who you are or your happiness, right? You’re not that shallow.

But the story-making machine of our minds forgets so quickly. It’s addicted to winning and not losing, not playing with what is.

And the whole world supports that malignant story:

“When you win you feel wonderful. When you lose you feel awful.”

It’s just a story, a fairy tale. It’s a lie. It’s nonsense. And you know it!

Now, just go and have some fun with your marketing, OK?

Cheers, Robert

We all want to succeed and nobody wants to fail. Most of us can agree on that, right?

But there are some really big problems with our ideas of both success and failure. And if you don’t get straight on them, you’ll continue to struggle with them.

The definition of success is: “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”

The definition of failure is: “not accomplishing an aim or purpose.”

With success, you get what you set out to get. With failure, you don’t.

When it comes to marketing your professional services, we’ve all had our share of successes and failures.

We’ve landed some wonderful clients and many prospective clients have slipped through our fingers.

That’s success and failure in a nutshell.

And, in reality, there is no problem with success or failure. We win some, we lose some. We keep at it and we continue to win some and lose some.

If we looked at success and failure in this simple way, we’d all do just fine.

But we don’t do that, do we?

No, we manufacture stories about success and failure.

We add meaning to success and failure.

We add significance to success and failure.

This story might make this a little more clear.

There was once a man who struggled to succeed in his marketing. He thought when he lost a new prospective client he was a failure. And he really wanted success.

So he studied with a marketing strategist for a year and, even when he won a new client, he always thought that he could have closed a bigger deal.

Still not feeling successful, he studied with a motivational psychologist for two years. He landed some huge clients by setting big goals but became burned out.

Next, still feeling discouraged, he hired a social media company to raise his profile. He got lots of speaking engagements and podcast interviews but ended up feeling like a phony.

In chasing success, he got some of it, but he still felt like a failure.

Finally, he came to me, and now, when he wins a client, he wins a client. When he loses a client, he loses a client.

End of story.

When you win a client, you win a client, when you lose one, you lose one.

You don’t need to add a story to what it means to win or lose: “If I win, I’m OK, if I lose, I’m not OK.”

This doesn’t mean you give up, it simply means you live in reality, not fantasy.

It doesn’t mean you don’t try several different marketing strategies, set high goals, or engage in social media.

It does mean that whatever you do, you ultimately get what you get. But only always.

With this insight, you can stop making up fairy stories about success and failure:

“I should always be successful and never fail.”

“When I succeed I’ll be totally happy.”

“I shouldn’t even try if I’m likely to fail.”

“People who work hard never fail!”

“Winning isn’t the most important thing, it’s everything.”

On what imaginary planet are these true?

And what happens when you turn off that story-making machine?

Your marketing becomes fun, it becomes a game. You don’t obsess about winning or losing. You put more attention on learning, engaging, and making a difference.

But you knew this already, right?

You know that winning or losing doesn’t define who you are or your happiness, right?

But the story-making machine of our minds forgets so quickly. It’s addicted to winning and not losing.

And the whole world supports that malignant story:

“When you win you feel wonderful. When you lose you feel awful.”

It’s just a fairy tale. It’s a lie. It’s nonsense. And you know it!

Now, just go and have some fun with your marketing, OK?

Cheers, Robert

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