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7 Deadly Types of Creative Avoidance

1. Collecting the tools

Example: “I need to find the best scheduler app before I can start booking clients.”

Systems make ordinary people extraordinary people, right?

I am always looking for new tools, better systems, and things that will make what we do easier, faster, more enjoyable, and more convenient. As the number of tools increases so does the opportunity for creative avoidance.

It’s important to have the right tools at the right time. The problem occurs when we confuse getting the tool with doing the work. It’s easy to find a better scheduler or video editing software. It’s hard to find great clients. It's easy to say I want to recruit so I am going to donate my time. It's hard to reach out and start conversations believing you have value to add.

I once purchased a $4,000 bicycle because I wanted to exercise and ride all over town. I took the bike on a ride 3 times and then it sat in my garage. Having a good tool or bicycle in this situation did not increase my activities of exercise to get in shape and have fun. In fact, I would have enjoyed it more on my less expensive, not as flashy, mountain bike, that I already had.

We can avoid things we should be doing by collecting tools rather than just getting started with what we have.

We can’t buy our way out of the really hard work. We have to do that stuff ourselves.

2. Searching for inspiration

Example: “I need to come up with a great idea for my _______ (video, script, sms, message, podcast, class, etc.) before I can start.”

Most of us don’t feel comfortable starting something unless we know that it will succeed. We try to find our passion instead of cultivating it. We wait for the universe to open up and give us a blog topic, script, or even a client to call us so that we can start being a "Realtor".

But the creative process doesn’t work that way. The only way to keep data and opportunity coming in (and thus build momentum) is to take action. At some point, we all have to get our hands dirty.

3. Seeking a perfect solution


- “Once I figure out my niche, everything else will make sense.”

- “I need to learn the scripts before I call/reach out to anyone.”

It’s easy to convince ourselves that there is a cure-all for any situation. One elevator pitch that, once we come up with it, will solve everything. One objection handler that will help us avoid all rejection. One perfect lead source that has nothing but buyers ready to write offers and sellers ready to list. One perfect workout that will make us skinny without doing any work. One perfect partner that will make us happy even if our life sucks. There is no “one perfect thing” that will solve your problems. It doesn’t exist, so stop searching. The problem is probably you. So work on yourself first, and remember that massive action is the antidote to all fear. Build confidence through repetition and effort. Chase chaos and the feeling of uncomfortableness.

4. Gathering more information

Example: “Getting ready to get ready by learning and spending all of your time taking classes, coaching courses, etc.”

In school, we are taught that we should have good grades, not fail and that knowledge is power. So we extrapolate and assume that more knowledge equals more power and we have this burning desire to "learn" and grow. Don't believe me? Post on social media that you just finished class and received a certificate, diploma, or designation. You will receive more recognition from the general public for these types of accomplishments than you would for getting a sale and feeding your family.

The truth is knowledge is potential power. It means nothing when not applied with action. A book on weight-lifting isn’t going to help you get stronger unless you go to the gym.

To some degree research is important. But at a certain point, you need to act. The challenge is figuring out when you’ve reached that point.

There are some things that you can’t learn unless you actually experience them. So remember Action is better than Talent & Information.

5. Always changing it up

Example: “I need to edit my website design so that my picture/logo/listings look better.”

There are way more distractions and options available to us today than we need. Use what you have and master it.

In our business, done is better than perfect. Don't be the business owner that never ships their work because they are too worried about where to place the shipping label.

6. Mixing up priorities

Example: “I need to get my business cards designed before I tell anyone I can help them.”

Your business cards don’t matter anywhere near as much as you might think. Personally, I don’t have business cards, yet most people obsess over them. Why?

Because it’s hard to fail at designing and ordering business cards. It’s much easier to fail at making money and reaching out to people who might hang up, say no, or have another objection that hurts your feelings. And despite knowing logically that failure helps us grow, let’s admit it: no one likes to fail.

This also happens with things that appear urgent but aren’t important. Facebook and email feel important, but they almost never are the topmost important priority. Don’t get sucked into someone else's list of priorities.

Highly-successful entrepreneurs sometimes make their business a priority at the expense of other areas of their lives. They neglect their family, health, or happiness. They focus on what they’re good at and ignore the other areas because they don’t want to feel like a beginner. The lack of a solid, balanced foundation will eventually destroy your business and your life.

7. Waiting for the right time


- “After the election is over I am going to get back at it”

- “I need to wait for the market to get better before I bother people”

No you don’t. Stop waiting for the perfect moment. It’s not going to come. 99% of the time, we would be better off taking action instead of trying to get the timing right.

Plus, when we leap before we’re ready, we’re more likely to take the action necessary to pull something off. For example, I accelerated my progress significantly by leaving my job slightly earlier than was comfortable.

By the way, I’m not advocating a blind leap. Being overly stressed can kill creativity early on in a business venture. I’m simply suggesting a leap before you are 100% ready (because you’ll never be).

What Do All of These Types Have in Common?

They keep us busy. More specifically, they keep us busy doing the wrong things. And that’s the brilliance of Creative Avoidance. It leaves no time for reflection.

The shorter you can make the cycle between idea and action, the faster you will be able to start and grow your business.

This is the secret of successful realtors. They take deliberate action. Not too quickly, not too slowly. The irony? You can only find the right balance through trial and error (i.e. taking action).

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