Lessons Don’t Always Come With Gift Wrap
One of my big goals for 2017 is to learn how to track and analyze all the finances in my business. With the numbers laid out and with the knowledge to analyze them it’s much easier to make good decisions.
A mentor helped me by setting up a call with a very knowledgeable ‘financial analyst’. When we got on the call, he chewed me out:
“What do you mean ‘you don’t know’ X?”
“What do you mean you haven’t calculated these ratios?”
“Look, if this is all the information you have, how do you expect any investor to take you seriously?”
The constant barrage of questions I couldn’t answer was embarrassing. I was learning a lesson, but the lesson was thrown in my face.
A lot of lessons are like that. Sometimes your bank account is the ‘red alert’ that harshly reminds you that something needs to change. Sometimes it’s a friend who asks a question that cuts to your ego.
Sometimes lessons are thrown at you, but it is usually best to accept them anyway.
When a knowledgeable mentor asks the tough questions and makes you feel dumb, don’t cry home to mama about it. Write them down, think about solutions, and try to come up with answers.
When your bank account is low, accept it as a hard lesson, and a challenge for you to solve.
When a friend asks, “Why are you still living like this?” instead of getting angry, realize that you should have asked yourself that question months ago and that it’s good that someone is finally asking.
In Life, Not All Lessons Are ‘Pre-Packaged’
In the classroom, lessons are clearly laid out in advance, chapters are clearly defined, and test dates are given weeks in advance.
Outside the classroom, many tests come before you’ve had time to prepare and are ready. For example, the rapid-fire oral test I failed over the phone with the financial analyst. Failing a test can be stressful, but it doesn’t need to be.
Accept the lessons anyway, whether they’re packaged in polite chapters or embarrassing, rapid-fire hardball questions.
The packaging of the lesson is different, but the content is the same.
During My Embarrassing Financial Interrogation…
I took notes under the barrage of one “I can’t believe you don’t know that.” after another. I took deep breaths and remained open to the criticism without getting defensive.
After the call, I studied the notes I’d taken. I pulled the lessons out from the harsh words. I completely re-worked how I record all my business transactions and reformatted the document.
The financial analyst and I spoke again 3 weeks later and I explained all the changes I had made based on his feedback. This time, my document was ‘financial analyst approved’ and we laughed together on the phone about his harsh questioning style.
Be willing to accept the lessons that are given to you, even if they’re thrown at your face. Be willing to go back for more if necessary, like a boxer willing to enter the ring for another round.