Welcome to the Unshackled Owner Podcast. There’s this myth out there that so many people believe, that they have to have all the ducks in a row, everything lined up beautifully, all the money, all the technology, all the vision. They’ve got to have everything ready, the team, everything, everything to get going. Little secret folks, it never works like that. Everything that’s epic started humbly.
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Wabi Sabi With Aaron Young
Hey, everybody. It’s Aaron Young. Welcome to The Unshackled Owner podcast, the show where we teach you how to build a business that’s bigger than you, how to build a real asset, not just a glorified job. That’s a learned skill. There’s a recipe for doing it and that’s what we’re here talking about on The Unshackled Owner podcast.
Today, I want to take a few minutes and talk about something that’s really been on my mind because, I tell you, I run into this all the time. If I’m out at an event and I’m speaking and people come up to me and say, “Oh my gosh, I love what you talked about. Here’s my situation.” Or they’ll call me on the phone, they want to have a consult or something. They’ll say, “Here’s what I want to do and I’m going to do it in eighteen months,” or “Oh my gosh, I have this dream. I’m really going to attack it in three years.”
I was on a phone call today actually. I had a nice chat with a young woman. We were talking and she said, “I’m going to start doing something in 2017.” It was a simple thing in my opinion, but to her it seemed daunting. It was what I thought was a pretty simple thing. She was going to start some time next year. This is the holiday season right now. As a matter of fact, this topic is perfect for the holiday season as we’re coming into the very end of the year.
Here’s the deal, I look at people that are saying, “Oh my gosh, I really want to do something and I’m really driven. I have this dream, I have this goal. But I’m just not ready. I’m not ready yet.” I think, “What is it that you’re waiting for? When are you going to be specifically ready?” There’s this myth out there that so many people believe, that they have to have all the ducks in a row, everything lined up beautifully, all the money, all the technology, all the vision, whatever it is. They’ve got to have everything ready, the team, everything, everything to get going.
Little secret folks, it never works like that. Everything that’s epic started humbly. I’ve told you stories about, and I’m going to have on the show, about my very best friend who started what is now a world class named brand business from the basement using two file cabinets and these two drawer file cabinets and a door that was his desk. You think about Apple computers starting from the garage. You think about Dell computers starting from the dorm room. You think about lots of things that start very very very simply and imperfectly.
That’s the word I want you to write down, imperfectly. Not perfect, imperfect. If you can embrace your imperfectness and you can say, “I’m going to do this regardless of the fact that I’m not ready to do it. I’m going to do it regardless of the fact that I don’t have all my ducks in a row. I’m just going to do it because now is my time to do it. I’m excited for it. I’ve got a vision for it. That’s what I’m going to freaking do.” Then you’re going to make a lot more progress, have a lot more success.
The Japanese have an expression or have a word called wabi sabi. Its definition would be a state of acceptance of the imperfection of life and appreciating that imperfection for its beauty. When I talk to business owners and they say, “What do I do?” I say, “Do you have an idea of what it is you want? Let’s get clear on what you want, what’s your outcome you’re looking. You know what the outcome is? Start taking baby steps now.” They go, “What do I do?” I say, “There’s not one path, there’s not one way to get to your goal. Just take your best shot.”
One of my favorite quotes is, “It’s more important to be certain than it is to be right.” Just take a step, just take action. It’s going to be wabi sabi. It’s going to be imperfect. It’s going to be flawed but it’s going to be beautiful in this imperfection. Because what’s going to happen is as soon as you take a step and another step and another step, you are now dramatically separated from the crowd. You are the unusual one now, because you had an idea and you moved toward it instead of having an idea and then just dreaming about it, just talking about it, just trying to be interesting at parties with it. No, you actually moved in the direction of your dream.
When you move in the direction of your dream, you start to meet with success unexpected in common hours. Thoreau, Walden. That’s where that comes from. What I want you to do is think about this thing that you want to do and you write it down and you get clear, like we’ve talked about in other episodes. Then you start taking baby steps, imperfect steps, wobbly steps. You’re going to fall down, you’re going to bump your little head, you’re going to fall in your little touchy. That’s okay because you’re going to be moving and you’re going to keep getting yourself up off the ground, you’re going to keep wobbling imperfectly towards your dream.
We’re so worried about being judged because everybody that presents on Facebook or out there to the world always looks perfect, always looks pristine, always looks like, “Dang, if they’ve got their act together, I’m so broken.” There’s a great quote that says, “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
I once talked to a fabulous painter, a really, really talented painter and he said, “I think artists …” He was being a little melodramatic honestly I thought, but he said this suddenly that stuck with me so maybe it was brilliant. He said, “I think artists have a crack in their soul and through that crack, God or the universe or inspiration can flow.” It flows out in music or dance or painting or whatever. That crack, that imperfection, that not perfect but beautiful thing, is what makes you unique.
It also attracts people to you. If you go into an absolutely perfect, beautiful, pristine room, let’s say, or house. Let’s say you go into a house. They got white carpet, they’ve got perfect furniture and all the pillows are exactly right, the lighting’s exactly right, the artwork is stunning. You walk in there and it’s just so perfect. Everything is in its place, everything is without wrinkle, everything is without any sort of defect. Boy, do you feel comfortable walking in there in your street shoes and sitting on the furniture, putting your feet up on the table? Hell no. You do not. What you do is you feel awkward in that situation.
When you go into a place that’s cool and funky and feels comfortable and looks super interesting and is surrounded by interesting art and things that pull your attention and you go, “Oh, look at that. Oh, check that out. Listen to the music they’re playing.” You just get enthralled by it. It’s not because it’s perfect, it’s because it’s beautiful in its imperfection. It’s fascinating in its diversity.
I want you to think about how are you unique, how are you beautiful in your imperfection and how are you going to, cracks and all, how are you going to start making those imperfect wobbly baby steps toward your dream. How are you going to do that? If you feel like, “Man, I don’t know if I’m good enough. I feel maybe I’m broken.” You see all of your scars, all of your pimples, all of your imperfections. You know all of them and you see all those chinks in your armmor.
I just want to tell you, it doesn’t mean that you’re broken. What it means is that, you’ve been through the ringer and you didn’t fall apart. You stayed solid, you stayed together. It didn’t matter. All the challenges that you had, you’re still standing. You’re still standing.
I also want you to remember that you don’t get to stand around forever. Life is short. We’re going to expire at some point. Our day is going to come where they’re going to pull us off the shelf. There’s the day when our time will be up. How long are you willing to delay your own personal interest, your own personal dreams, your own personal growth because, “Oh, today’s not a good day for me. I’m worried, I’m imperfect.” Brothers and sisters, let me tell you what. We’re all imperfect.
If you’re looking for perfection, you’re never going to be satisfied, you’re never going to be happy. If you’re always trying to get it right, if you’re looking at other people and seeking their perfection, you want them to be perfect because how can you follow them, how can they mentor you, how can you believe in something they said if, ooh, we find something imperfect about them?
I just want you think about that and get over the fact that everything has to be perfect and everything has to be right. When it’s all right, when everything is perfect, the water is placid, I have plenty of money, I have all the right technology, I have all the right team, I’m completely ready to go, then you’ll go.
I’ll tell you what, a lot of companies that go out there and raise a bunch of money on a big idea, a lot of those companies crash hard to the ground and lose all their investor money and they’re gigantic flops. It’s usually, it’s almost always, somebody who has the out of the box idea, they start to pursue it, they start to do things that are different than what other people do. People look at them a little weird, “Where did you come up with this crazy idea?” But they know that they’ve got the tiger by the tail and they quietly, imperfectly, pursue it. They go after it, they do what they want to do to make it their own.
What happens is, it becomes an expression of this beautiful idea, this beautiful imperfect idea that that founder had. Eventually, you’ll have to bring in systems and processes and counted people to manage things and so on. It will tighten up, it will tighten up. But there’s something about those first steps, those first months or years of figuring it out and testing it out. Having some success, not withstanding your imperfection, that makes the later victories so wonderful, so sweet.
That’s what it’s about. Now listen, there are recipes to do this. There are ways of doing this. I believe about 95% of success is just getting started, just get off your bum and get on your feet and, as imperfectly as will be true, you walk forward into the darkness towards your destiny. This is wabi sabi. It’s beautiful in its imperfection.
We celebrate our imperfections knowing that everyone else around us is equal to or greater than their imperfections. Believe me, people don’t care where you’re imperfect. They care how your idea, how your solution can help improve their life, how you can help them solve a problem. Because I promise you, you are great at certain things. You think it’s no big deal, but other people go, “Oh my gosh, if I could just get a little bit of that magic, that would change my life.”
If you hide and wait until everything’s perfect, not only will you delay or never find your own success. You will be hurting other people and taking away from them just that thing that you could provide that nobody else could. It’s beautiful, it’s imperfect. It’s wabi sabi.
That’s it today as we go into this crazy holiday season. I hope that you enjoy every minute of it and you remember that a wabi sabi holiday season is way more fun than one that’s picture perfect. Find the joy in the every day, find the joy in the people that are with you, find the joy that not every bow is perfectly tied, that every package is beautifully wrapped.
Some of the most beautiful gifts I’ve ever seen were wrapped imperfectly by the little chubby hands of my small children, little notes, little cards, little pictures, are still among my most priced possessions. They’re imperfect and they’re beautiful in their imperfection, like all of us are.
Go out and make it a great day. This is Aaron Young for The Unshackled Owner podcast. I’ll see you next time.
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