Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

Change. Motivate. Adapt. Improve. Perform

All the gear and no idea….

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Oh my!  I hope that the photograph below makes you giggle as much as it did for me.  Todays post is about people who seem to have all the gear and no idea.

all-the-gear

Photo sourced at http://abc1mamil.com/?p=26 …great little post on the same topic!

The fact is that we all know people who epitomise this.  They seem to spend most of their time accumulating ‘stuff’ for their new venture whether it be in the form of actual physical equipment, particular clothing, making their office look super pretty or accumulating books that need to be read….but does it make you better at what you do? I think the granny in the picture here probably would think not.

‘I want to do karate’

It’s the kind of thing some of us did as kids. I remember doing it with new hobbies when I was a child (sorry Mum and Dad), and I see my nieces do it now. ‘I want to do Karate’ says littlest niece. So Mum and Dad go out and buy her all the gear. Karate suit, belt, bag for carrying said gear, etc. You know what happened next in the story don’t you? Two months later, she didn’t like karate and she wanted to play football instead!

Sometimes this is a practice that even adults don’t grow out of I’m afraid. We take on new things, hobbies, jobs or businesses and sink funds, not to mention precious time, into buying ‘stuff’ (or doing stuff), so that might make it seem as though we are living a particular life before we are yet in a position to really do so.  Of course a flash gym outfit means we are super-fit, active and healthy, doesn’t it?

This can also translate to do doing expensive courses and training that really on reflection don’t add anything to our lives or businesses, especially in those early stages of transition.

Know where you are in the process

In my Coaching practice most of my clients are at a point of transition, most going on to do some really exciting things…setting up new businesses, changing career or finding new relationships. I see many people who have put so much time and money into buying things for something that they think they want to do, but really it turns out that they are not sure it was really what they wanted after all. Sometimes they are struggling to maintain a balanced and fulfilled life while feeling so stretched in maintaining something that they have lost passion their passion for.

What happens then when you have already bought all the gear?

Lessons to take away

So what’s the lesson? I’ve tried to summarise this into 3 big lessons to learn, so here we go…

Lesson #1: Don’t run before you can walk

Amazon was started by a bloke and his wife selling books on-line from their home. The books were kept in their garage and all over the house and every evening after work they would sit until the early hours packaging them at their kitchen table. Do not underestimate the power and future scale of a kitchen table based business.

The fact is, is that you may not need a separate office location. If you do, maybe you are seeing clients for example, then does it have to be that flash? What can you get away with? Does it really need that big desk or aquarium? What is the least financial outlay that will bring you the greatest return? Ask questions like, am I over-committing by signing up into a 2 year lease? Can I spread the risk and do this with someone else?

Consider that you might be better off staying at your kitchen table until you really NEED to move or even better can you transfer all your clients to Skype so you can have location independence like two fine ladies from my MPWC conference, Corrina Gordon Barnes from You Inspire Me and Marianne Cantwell from Free Range Human

Lesson #2: Be good at self-regulation

I love teaching my psychology students about self-regulation (Bandura 1991).

Picture this…A small child in a room with a big slice of chocolate cake on a plate positioned in front of them.

An adult then enters the room and says to the child, ‘See this lovely piece of cake? ’Yes’ says the child, licking their lips. ‘Well, I’m going to the leave the room now, and while I’m gone, you can eat the cake.’  The child gets very excited….’BUT’, says the adult, ‘ if you don’t eat the cake while I’m gone, when I get back I will give the rest of the cake as well…not just a slice, the whole thing!’.

This is self-regulation (put very simplistically!). This test at a young age shows us how good people are at self-regulation.  Some children launch into the cake and munch away immediately.  Some last a big longer, but still eat the slice of cake after much deliberation.  Then there is another group of children, who ‘self-regulate’.  They appear to see the benefit of waiting, a longer term strategy to getting what they want, which is ultimately MORE!

This is a super little experiment and is often replicated with sweets or marshmallows (see picture below) and the outcome is even more interesting as it seems to be, that how children behave is also a predictor of how they will behave as an adult.

Self Regulation

Image taken from http://rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=4622 (click on image to be taken to site)

So, the link here I hope is an obvious one. Learning to self-regulate early on in your transition can pay off!  If you can wait before sinking big money ‘buying all the gear’ or doing that expensive training course until you know you have enough income coming in, evidence shows us that the ground work and building a solid foundation may mean greater rewards in the long run**

*Please note that this is quite different from the ready, fire, aim analogy which doesn’t need a financial outlay or ‘all the gear!*

Lesson #3: Don’t be a Magpie

The last one is a simple one, which is just about not being taken in by shiny things. Another way I could have put this would have been to say ‘never judge a book by its cover’.

This makes me think of my old favourite restaurant I used to frequent all-the-time when I lived in Wellington in New Zealand. The restaurant was situated opposite to the hospital where I worked and it was simply called ‘The Mexican café’.

This place had a weird exterior, painted in garish colours. The interior matched, in that it had mismatched chairs, ugly paintings on the wall (none were from Mexico) and to add to the strangeness, it was run by a Chinese family…links to Mexico, unknown.

Now and I can tell you that this little restaurant was always fully booked and nearly always had a queue of people waiting to go inside. It was probably up there as being one of the most popular restaurants in Wellington, no mean feat as there are A LOT of places to eat in Wellington. It was also an arse to get to on top of all of that, so you knew people were making a real effort to get there.

Again, what’s the lesson here? Well, they had the fundamentals of a good business right.  They had a long term strategy, a la ‘self-regulation’.

They had excellent (really truly excellent) food. Also, although it was garish, it was super clean.  You could BYO a nice touch, and to add to all that, even though the owners didn’t speak the greatest English, they tried to get to know everyone’s names and always welcomed you with a smile.

They also remembered your order from your previous visit and asked you if you would like the same (yes, I went too much and mine was a vege burrito), and all in all it was truly awesome customer service!

So, did they need a flash spangly premises, no. They didn’t waste their time or money on just having the gear.  They had every idea of what it would take to have a super successful restaurant.  Great food, awesome atmosphere and fantastic customer service.  Job done.

What gear have you got?

So, if you are starting something new, maybe a new hobby, business or career, whatever it is, consider that it’s not really all about the gear. That sometimes the gear can really distract you from your true purpose which is just to do an amazing job.  It’s not that these things can’t come later on, but its more about how we self-regulate and don’t get taken in with ‘shiny means better’.

Sometimes, when we take our time building the foundations for change, the outcome can be so much sweeter!

What gear did you wait to buy?

I’d love to hear from you and the gear you waited to buy? Was it something for a new business, or maybe you waited to spend money on more studying for more qualifications until you felt you really needed to?

I’d love to hear from you.

Exciting Blog post next week!

Do watch out for a really different and super exciting blog post next week….I’ll be sharing something with you that I’ve never done before and I’d love to know what you think?

Tell next week…

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One thought on “All the gear and no idea….

  1. Pingback: Hacking your way to the top… | Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

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