“Calm seas do not make skillful sailors”

I’ve been really inspired by that quote lately.

For several years, my business has been running comfortably on autopilot and although I would push a bit to get it to grow, I frankly wasn’t pushing a lot. I was knocking out projects, enjoying the improved balance between work and play, and doing other things. I was enjoying the calm seas of what some might call business success. (Maybe not “success” at the same level as others but certainly a nice happy, easy path).

But I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a risk-taker. I’m a scrappy capitalist. As I look back on my business experience, the times I had the most fun was when it was an edge-of-my-seat thrill ride through the unknown. Sure, things were far from perfect during those times but they were fun.

So recently I’ve been thinking about making a couple of changes in my business — a refinement of part of my offering, probably raising my prices, a tweak of my brand, etc. — and the thoughts actually kind of scare me me a bit. They scare me because I’ve grown used to the calm seas. I find myself resistant to some changes and even held back by some of the unknowns that I would have once embraced. That needs to change.

We SHOULDN’T grow used to the calm seas. Calm seas are a nice season to catch our breath but they lull us into a sense of safety that makes unprepared for the next storm. We become lazy. Our skills lose their edge. Our hunger for success is sated.

I want the storms. I want the messy chaos of a business that is bursting at the seams and straining and twisting with the waves of the market. I want the struggles and the challenges because overcoming them is so rewarding and it makes me sharper.

For that reason, I’m doing a bunch of really cool stuff to steer my business into rougher waters:

  • I’ve invested in some real estate in the US. I already own real estate here in Canada (where I live) but I want to experience and overcome the challenges of cross-border real estate investing.
  • I’ve started up a new offering — direct response copywriting for real estate investors — and I’m marketing through some exciting new methods that are totally new to me.
  • I’ve invested pretty heavily in some education to help ramp up my skills in copywriting and finance — two essential areas that I have some experience in but I want to hit “expert” status in.
  • I’m going to publish my Sales Funnel Bible book online. I’m sick of fumbling around with it and I want to drive it forward and a little external pressure won’t hurt.

Those are a couple of my initial projects to stir things up a bit. There are others (but I’m not ready to unveil them just yet!). One of the inspirations to push harder is a book I highly recommend: Grant Cardone‘s The 10X Rule, in which Cardone explains that our goals are achieved only through a preponderance of effort. Pick up the book and read it. It’s a good read.

Calm seas are nice now and then. But we need to guard against allowing them to become our default operating plane. Instead, calm seas should be an opportunity to catch our breath, clean up the ship a bit, plug the leaks, so we can be ready for when the storms come again.

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