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What do you need to unlearn?

What do you need to UNLEARN or RELEARN for this stage of your business and personal life?

In other words, what has worked for you in the past that now impedes you from greater success - or is just no longer relevant / appropriate for your current goals and objectives?

For me, I had to UNLEARN and RELEARN how to be ok with going-to-market with an imperfect product and service.

I originally trained as a print journalist (magazines - remember those?) and then as a corporate lawyer, so it was part-and-parcel of my training that we dot all our i's and cross all out t's in our stories and legal documents, respectively.

(I didn't just triple check the very first cease-and-desist letter I wrote for a global entertainment client (they make movies - most of you know them), but I checked over those 2-pages FIVE times)

This ultra-cautious, risk management approach seeped into all other parts of my life (including personal) and made me overcautious, second-guessing and hesitant to create opportunities for myself with the velocity that the marketplace demanded.

Get started on Twitter back in 2012 and start sharing my thoughts to build a personal brand (when the platform was less crowded than in 2023)?

(No wait, what will my current / future employers and clients think when they read my tweets?)

Cold DM people on LinkedIn to reach out and learn more about their job/industry so as to potentially generate interesting new professional opportunities if they found my skills useful?

(No, that's unbecoming of a dignified "pro" at a big law firm in the professional services)

When I moved into the software business, I had to unlearn this caution (and perfectionism) and relearn the mindset of "I create my own chances and if I upset the apple cart a little bit, so be it"

By relearn, I mean things like cold-calling two magazines (as a 22 year old recent university graduate) at what was then Canada's largest magazine publisher (Rogers Publishing) to propose that I work simultaneously for them as an intern (I later received paid commissions from both of them).

Neither had ever hired an intern before, let alone having some random kid cold-call them about writing for them both at the same time.

Or talking my way into one of the world's largest law firms as a 23 year old first-year law student even though I didn't quite have the grades by building visibility, credibility and social proof through getting elected as law school student body president.

(It worked. They normally only hire those with at least an A- average but I still got in even though I was a B student in law school - I was too busy reading business books and not my law textbooks. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone ok? 🤫)

Nowadays, years later, I'm back to where I was in my early 20s when I didn't have the baggage of over-perfectionism and second-guessing.

Sometimes you need to ask yourself if the different parts of your life look like what it is you want - and if not, what things you need to start doing (or stop doing).

Sometimes that requires a radical change in your environment.

Moving into the software business meant I entered an environment that prioritized speed of delivery, aggressiveness and ability to market assertively (and often) over getting things "perfectly perfect".

My grammar isn't perfect when I write these LinkedIn posts - and I screw up the alignment and spacing sometimes. I think I even made a spelling mistake in one of my posts too (this would have gotten me in trouble during my law firm days).

But guess what?

I don't care because I bang these out each and every day in under 45 minutes so that I can move on and attack the other parts of my business aggressively to build my online profile and reach.

I can move much faster and take more risks that result in greater opportunities to build my business, personal brand, client relationships and assets.

What I mean to illustrate with these examples is to ask you:

· "What do you need to unlearn that is holding you back from where you want to go?"

· "What behaviors do you need to relearn?"

If you don't know the answer to either of these questions, audit where you had greater than average success in your life, and ask what you did (or didn't do) and bring those behaviors and thought processes back (assuming it's appropriate for where you are and where you want to go)

What do you need to learn or unlearn? Why?


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