I'm a Stupid Idiot!
What does being a "stupid idiot" have to do with Systemic Success? EVERYTHING!
Born in New Orleans and raised in Baton Rouge, La., I had my share of knocks and bruises ... especially being one of eight children. I was in the middle of that pack with several older brothers who, at times, could be quite a challenge. If I made a mistake or did something they thought was less than perfect (like running the wrong way when playing neighborhood football), I would encounter a verbal avalanche of rebuke.
“Philip ... you stupid idiot, what are doing?” No political correctness here!
I guess I’ll have to tell you about my Italian grandmother from New Orleans who, when she got mad at me for playing with a "stinky dog," would holler, "Philip, get in here, you little..." (Grandma had a pet name for me since I was so pale). You see I was a stick-out among my Italian side of the family, because as a child, I took after my Swedish mother, with her blond hair and light skin.
Well, let me tell you, when you think your big brothers hang the moon and they’re the smartest people you know, you don’t get to think more highly of yourself than you ought! In fact, you begin to question your sanity. You may believe you ARE a stupid idiot.
Now before you start feeling sorry for me ... thinking that I had a terrible childhood, my brothers were just bullies, and my grandmother didn’t love me ... well, that’s just not the case! Fact is, I had a wonderful childhood; my brothers and I managed to grow up, and I could tell you some heartwarming stories about Grandma’s love. Yes, I had a few bumps and some hurdles to overcome, but when you’re one of seven boys and one feisty girl, you learn to speak your mind to survive; and all that straight talk also gave me broad shoulders to face the future. Besides, I had a couple of younger brothers, to whom I got to pass on a bit of my own “straight talk.”
So, I ask you again ... what does being a stupid idiot have to do with Systemic Success? Yes, EVERYTHING!
As you’re no doubt aware, in this life you WILL have your share of troubles and obstacles. And, yes, sometimes you’ll think YOU are a stupid idiot, as you see other people seemingly having much success. Like everything they touch coming up roses, while you feel as if you’re running in place, going nowhere. It’s easy to start feeling sorry for yourself.
Straight talk ... in a tough economy it’s harder to grow a business! Some have to struggle just to stay afloat. And you may have to make two to three times as many contacts with prospects, just to land a small account. SO WHAT!!
As a business professional, you hear a lot of noise out there ... experts telling you, you need to do this or do that; you need to go to this or the other seminar, to “learn how REAL successful and smart people do it.”
Yes, we keep looking over the fence at others, wondering if there’s something wrong with us ... maybe a missing chip!?
Listen ... when I started my first business, I can tell you I really felt like a stupid idiot. I opened my shop in a small, 400-square-foot building, the size of a very small apartment, located in the back of a bank with some used, broken down equipment. I had very little money, no business cloths to make personal calls, and thinking to myself, “What the heck am I doing?”
I would look at other businesses with all their fancy equipment and think, “I don’t have a chance.” Even some of my closest friends were telling me how “stupid” it was to open a start-up business in a bad economy.
Well, thank God, I didn’t give in to that way of thinking ... at least, I didn’t let it stop me from putting one foot in front of the other and keep plodding forward. I’ve said many times to my children and others, “You never run out of options to succeed as long as you have your freedom. So NEVER give up!”
How do you overcome the “I’m a stupid idiot” mindset? You encourage yourself systematically!
How do you do that?
- Start listening to those people who came up with nothing … who then built or became something.
- Begin reading everything you get your hands on that has anything to do with sales and marketing, systemizing, organizing and living THE WAY you know you should.
- Take care of the things you have control of, like eating the right foods, getting the rest you need, spending time with your family, and listening to positive people.
In one of the books I read, that changed my business life, the author wrote, “YOU’RE the problem, and YOU will always be the problem, until YOU change.” That was a wake up call for me, because I needed to change. And I did! I did the things I mentioned above and my life and business began to turn for the better.
No, everybody doesn’t and shouldn’t get the trophy for MVP. But, we’ve been given a great blessing ... we still live in a free country with lots of opportunity for those who are willing to step up to the plate, and keep swinging until they get a hit!
But then ... a “stupid idiot” would never do that!
Did I mention? Great systems work!
FYI: All of my brothers became very successful business professionals! Here’s a picture of two of them, who actually survived this not-so-politically-correct photo op! Click here!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.