I want to talk about one of the things that really helped me understand where I’m at and why I’m getting stuck. And the main word I want to talk about today is teachability. Now, teachability is one of those made up words. It refers to how much you’ll accept when you hear a new concept or a new idea.
The best way to think about this is your journey of education. When you’re a kid and in school, you just accept everything as truth, right? If your teacher is saying it, it has to be true.
This goes all the way up to college. And then a lot of times, once you get a degree and you’re done and you go out to the real world, our teachability goes from, let’s say on a scale of one to ten, it goes from like an eight to like a four. We start really closing off ideas. And our teachability in general tends to get lower and lower as we go along.It’s just how we are; it’s just what we do. We think that once we’ve graduated or once we’re adults, that now we’re supposed to act like we know everything. The more curious you are, the more you learn. But the more curious you are, that requires asking questions. And when you ask questions, people know that you don’t know the answers and there is risk there. We don’t want to put ourselves out there.
So one of the things that really helped me was realizing about five years ago that I had no idea how to change my business.I really didn’t know what I was doing when it came to business growth. I had a team of five people, and we were doing about a quarter million a year, but it was all in custom web development. And we were making a quarter million, but the business was spending a lot. And I was just frustrated. It wasn’t good. I wasn’t happy, wasn’t fulfilled. And I also was very closed off to new ideas and new ways of thinking. And it wasn’t until one of my friends, Nancy, gave me this book called “The System,” that I was introduced to a new way of thinking. I understood one of my biggest roadblocks was my aversion to sales in general. And I knew I needed a change.I read this book, “The System,” I couldn’t put it down.
And he was talking about the inner game, the outer game, and then action. So this is Eric Lofholm’s book, “The System,” where he talks about the inner game, how you think about sales, the outer game, and then the actions that you take. And I was absolutely enthralled of this book. But I also realized, reading it the first time through, I’ve read it about four times through cover to cover, the first time I read it, I was absolutely in love with the book, but I was so closed off to so many of the ideas. There were so many things I just didn’t want to accept. And it was hard. I realized towards the end of chapter two, where he talks about how you feel about sales and your mindset, and he goes through this exercise where you start to literally talk to yourself in the mirror. And I thought, “What have I got to lose? What’s the worst that can happen? I’m by myself in my bathroom, and I might as well talk to myself.”
I started the book over again, I read chapter one again, and I went through it. And instead of saying no to every new idea, concept, or brushing it aside, I’m like, “You know what? I’m just going to do it. I’m just going to try it.” So I did. And I started trying it, running through the exercises, doing the things that Eric was saying. And I didn’t feel stupid; I felt empowered. And I thought, “Man, I’m really digging this. I like the way I feel about myself. I like the way I’m thinking about my business.” I felt like this creative room in my brain was unlocked, and I started to get more ideas, and I started to get a little bit more ambitious about what I wanted. And it was exciting. Reading the book and going through the exercises and just walking through the entire process, going through and writing out my sales mountain and writing my goals and going through his manifestation exercises that he was doing, it was exciting. I no longer felt like I was being held back or imprisoned by where my business was, and that was one of the biggest things.
A lot of it really came down to teachability. You can have two people read the book, you can have somebody who’s open to the ideas in the book read it, and you can have somebody who is completely a closed-off business owner who thinks they know how they’re business is supposed to be run. You can have two different people read the book and get totally different things out of it. One person is going to think this is absolutely ridiculous, and the other person is going to be blown away by it and it’s going to change their world. It just depends on how teachable you are.
Because the thing about new ideas is that there are things that you don’t know yet, there are things that you’re not aware of yet, and if you’re not open to learning, then you’re not going to accept it. And you’re not going to allow yourself to take in that information and digest it and let it absorb into your conscious and subconscious mind. And if you don’t allow it to do that, then it simply will not take root. And if what you’re reading doesn’t take root in your brain, then you forget it the next day and it’s done. It has absolutely no impact on your life. However, if you read it, absorb it, digest it, and let it take root, then it causes a small shift in your brain, in your knowledge, in your training, in your ideas, and in your creativity.And now you’re able to take it and use it and apply it in your life.
It’s as simple as that. How teachable are you? Are you open to new ideas? Are you open to trying new things? Are you open to learning new concepts and executing new strategies that you’ve never tried before? If you’re not, then you have to accept that where you are now is where you’re going to stay. Because if you’re not open to anything new, and you’re not going to make a change, then nothing will change and what you have now is all that is going to be. Because you’re not going to change it.
So how teachable are you? Are you open to trying new things? Are you open to learning new ideas?
I’m reading a book right now by Gary Vaynerchuk, called “Crushing It.” And it’s a really good book. I’m only on chapter two. And I’ll just confess to you, I do not … I’m learning to appreciate Gary V. for what he is. How’s that? I’m learning. I didn’t like Gary Vaynerchuk. I didn’t like the way he cussed, I didn’t like his attitude, I didn’t like his grind from the moment you wake up until you go to sleep. I didn’t like his live like you’re broke. There’s a lot of things that he said that I didn’t agree with. That’s okay to not agree with everything. By the way, you don’t need to agree with everything Eric says or everything Gary V. says. But I realized I was completely closed off to Gary Vaynerchuk, even though he’s probably one of the biggest names in the world that I’m in. He is the man. So, I knew I needed to be open to it. And I had this epiphany when I was in Barnes and Noble and I was reading the book, and I was reading the first couple chapters like, “Nope, this is stupid. Nope, nope, nope, nope.” And I’m like, “Oh, geez, I’m doing it again. I’m not allowing myself to be teachable. I’m dismissing everything Gary V. has to say because I’m not open to new ideas.”
So I bought the book, and I’m at home reading it with a new mindset. I’m like, “Am I going to allow myself to be teachable? Yes.” And so I sat there reading the book late last night, and allowing myself to be open to the ideas that Gary V. was presenting, and my eyes are open, my mind is open. That’s the important thing, my mind is open. And it’s a dang good book. It’s really good. Now again, I still don’t agree with a lot of things that Gary has to say. But you know what? I’m not going to throw out the baby with the bathwater this time. I’m not tossing the book to the side. I’m going to read the book, get as much as I can out of it, and if I feel that resistance, I’m going to ask myself why I feel that resistance, and then try to overcome that resistance. I want to be teachable. I want to get to the next step.
I shared in my last episode that I’m trying to get to a million dollar business, but I’ve been stuck in the rut where I am right now. I’m still stuck in the same revenue for the past five years. My business has changed, I’m a lot happier, it’s much more profitable, but I’m stuck and I don’t want to be stuck anymore. So what am I going to do? I have to be teachable. I have to be open to new things, new ideas, new strategies, new concepts, new ways of thinking, new ways of working, new ways of hiring, new ways of outsourcing, new ways of taking on clients, new services, new offers, new products, new, new, new. I have to be open to that or else nothing’s going to change. So what am I going to do? I have to be open to new ideas. Again, that does not mean look at everything with an open mind or suddenly throw out your ideals or foundations. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying be open to new ideas. Look at the success that others are having with these strategies and concepts. And If you have resistance to those strategies and concepts, ask yourself why. Why am I resistant to this stuff? You should be teachable.
As an entrepreneur, things are always going to change.
If I didn’t make a change in my business five years ago, I’d be working for somebody else right now. I don’t know where I’d be working, but I’d be working somewhere else, bouncing from job to job, miserable, unhappy, not living the life of my dreams right now, not living in beautiful Redding, California, working out of my house, hanging out with my family all day, making a great living, started my own podcast. I wouldn’t be here right now if I wasn’t adapting as business changed. So I want to encourage you, be adaptable, be teachable. Learn new things, be open to new ideas, new concepts, take the next step. If you’re listening to this right now and going, “Man, what is a new thing that I should be doing?” I want to make myself available to you. Go to alexbranning.com/call to set up a free 15-minute chat. I’m not going to pitch you anything, I just want to learn about where you’re at, let’s talk, see if I can help you out.
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