How long will it take?
It’s a great question and one that rarely involves a clear answer. At least in my line of work. This is the nature of being a founder, creator, teacher, instructor, coach, consultant, speaker and trial lawyer.
The vast majority of the work I do these days requires creativity, time, and refinement. Refinement to make sure I get it right. Right so that I deliver the results.
Results because that’s what I care about.
So many people focus on time. Earlier in my career when I was only a trial lawyer, everything was about time. Billable hours.
What’s your hourly rate? That’s the question I used to get. Over time the dollar amount went up. Way up.
But I hate selling time. It’s not good for me and it’s not good for the client either. Charging based on time causes people to slow down and do unnecessary things just to charge for more hours. On the flip side, it means I could only earn when I actively worked on something.
I saw the broken system for both sides. It’s just one of many reasons I left behind the legal world. It’s not my sole focus. It’s not my primary focus.
The system is broken.
Which is why the question of how long will it take doesn’t factor into my thinking these days. Even though I hear it all the time I quickly brush it off.
I reframe the question.
What’s the result that will be delivered?
Now of course there are no guarantees in life. But I also know my expertise. I know what I can and will deliver.
This is the mindset shift that needs to take place when we step into our own confidence. Embracing the quote by Harvey Specter that “confidence isn't that they will like me, it’s that I’ll be fine even if they don’t.”
Working with clients, speaking in front of audiences, even creating articles means some people won’t agree or like what I have to say. I may not be the right fit for them.
That’s perfectly fine.
Trying to please everyone is a recipe for disaster. One of the best signals I get from things I put into public consumption is push back or rude comments. It lets me know my idea is different enough to make people disagree. If I try to please everyone I become lukewarm or even worse vanilla.
It makes me think of so many great singers and comedians who early in their careers are raw and edgy. It’s what makes them resonate with people. But that brings more mainstream audiences their way. Which brings bigger paydays and as a result they tame themselves. Filter their thoughts. Change their character.
Eddy Murphy’s early standup is a perfect example. Go watch Delirious. Totally different from Eddie Murphy who is in a bunch of mainstream boring movies these days.
It happens to musicians too. And many other artists.
All of this is to say that we shouldn’t aim to please everyone. Working with clients is about finding the right ones to work with. The results will be greater. It will be much more rewarding and even more fun.
Which is why when people ask me how long will it take, it’s a red flag.
I want people focused on results. Results matter. That’s what I deliver.
The work I love isn’t about time.
And just like Harvey Specter said, I know I’ll be fine even if they don’t like my answer.
Want to reach me? Robbie@beondeck.com
I'm the Founder of Performative Speaking.
Speaker on sales, crisis communication, and storytelling for executives and founders
Consultant and Coach