"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
This African proverb has come up a couple times in the last week and it got me thinking:
Most of my problems in my life and business were from trying to go fast and alone. I worked all the time. I neglected my health and family. I was miserable because no matter how much I worked, my business wasn't blowing up and making more money like the gurus said it would.
But in my Precursors book, I argue that your choices aren't fast or slow, but rather slow, and not at all.
We mistakenly believe that fast is an option. And by choosing fast, not only do we cause a lot of strife and suffering for ourselves, but we condemn ourselves to failure. The activities we pursue trying to quickly build a business or quickly get in shape undercut the foundations that take time to build.
For example: If you want to lose weight quickly, your options are extreme calorie restriction and liposuction. And even then, extreme calorie restriction is not that fast. There was once a man who lasted something like a year without eating, while his body used the stored calories in his fat tissue to keep running. He was under medical supervision of course.
Not to mention how unhealthy both of those options are. And what happens after you lose the weight? do you keep it off? Or do your bad habits land you right back where you were before?
The alternative is to build a sustainable diet and exercise plan and sticking with it consistently. Over time, your weight will converge to the sum of your habits. Good diet, good exercise, good weight.
How about finances? We've all heard stories about people who win millions in the lottery and then still end up broke again in a year. They go fast and alone and end with nothing.
Business? Consider this example from Gary Halbert. Halbert wrote the Beverly Hills Diamond advertisement and raked in a healthy profit. He went fast and alone.
But a vastly inferior copywriter, Chase Revel also wrote a promotion for this product. And he also built a backend with various other offers involved.
Revel spent about the same amount of money advertising, and did $25 million in business on the backend.
It's like the story about the two men tasked with bringing water to the local village. One man carries buckets and he does well for several years. But the other man plans for 5 years and then builds a pipeline that completely puts the other man out of business.
Actively working to go fast undermines the foundations that are necessary to go far. Namely, the daily consistent actions that result in success. The diet, the habits, the experience, the strategy.
One viral post might get you eyeballs for a few weeks. But how will you turn those eyeballs into a sustainable business?
I want to encourage you that not only are pipelines and automations valuable in building a sustainable business. But in fact, they miss the most valuable piece: Building relationships with your audience.
It's time to stop thinking of customers as part of your assembly line for manufacturing your desired future. Instead, think of them as part of the journey, part of that future - and you as part of theirs.
How are you going to be a leader if you're going alone? How are you going to impact people's lives if you're going alone? How are you going to make sales if you're going alone?
The second half of the proverb says: "If you want to go far, go together."
Look for other likeminded business owners in your industry to mastermind with, encourage, and create JVs with.
Gather your group of people and lead them on this journey.
Consistent, sustainable growth is more desirable to fast, unprecedented success.
If you want to make it at all, you must prepare to go far. Go together. And go consistently.