Clear Understanding

June 2nd, 2010

In 2007, the president of an energy company that engaged me to coach one of their senior executives asked what year we started this business. When I told him 2003, he said, “I believe it takes 10 years to master a craft; you’ve got a ways to go.” At the time I recall thinking he was overstating the education process, or I was far ahead of his learning curve. Now I realize he was right on the mark. I’ve gained more knowledge in the past 18 months about how to best serve clients than I did in the previous six years, let alone the 23 years I spent in other careers.

That’s one reason I spent Memorial Day weekend rewriting our Web site. The first time around in ’03, I created nice prose that sounded pretty good; however, I really didn’t know what I was talking about when it came to explaining the value clients receive from working with us. Three years ago when we updated it the first time, my thoughts were closer to the actual target, although still more style than substance.

I actually committed to this project 13 months ago – and sat down several times to start the process. Yet the words never appeared on my monitor, regardless of how hard I tried to force them… so I set it aside and moved on to things that seemed more urgent. Last week, the inspiration appeared out of nowhere and the words flowed easily from my fingertips.

Three lessons here: 1) If it’s been awhile since your last Web site (or marketing materials) update, you’re likely a lot smarter, so you may want to consider a redux; 2) It takes a decade to become a master, so be patient and keep learning; and, 3) You can’t force things, so when you’re stuck, step aside and ‘wait for it.’

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