I guess, at 27, that I’m decently aged enough to be able to have some really insightful and profound life advice for the Under30CEO crowd. I mean, I’ve lived a really long time so I should have at least picked up a couple of great pieces of advice by now right?
The most simple, powerful, and profound thing my 27 years have taught me is to never, ever, under any circumstances take shortcuts for anything that matters. I’ve been guilty myself and have watched enough other people try to get ahead by cutting corners and taking the fastest route possible that got burned to learn better. Sure, things might work out for a time, but taking shortcuts is just asking for disaster.
A few examples and anecdotes might help.
Some of you may have heard that Jack LaLanne died recently at the age of 96. Reading about his life is what really inspired me to write this. He could do more than 100 pushups well into his 90’s. The man was the image of health and fitness and built himself a pretty decent little empire. He created the first chain of gyms in the United States which eventually was sold to Bally’s and then he made himself a nice little fortune selling juicers. He wasn’t working out to make a quick buck. He was a fixture in the fitness industry for more than 70 years because he did things the right way and put in the necessary work.
The gym is a great place to verify the “shortcuts can hurt” mantra. Just try adding too much weight too fast and see what happens. Your body might be able to adapt and recover for a bit but you will inevitably hurt yourself. Putting on too much weight too fast is a shortcut guaranteed to hurt you.
You could always resort to a different kind of shortcut and take steroids and that could solve the problem in the short term but eventually the effects of the drugs can cause some well documented permanent damage to your body. Man boobs and baldness anyone??
I’ve seen the same effects in my own business.
I own a fundraising company that specializes in eco friendly and healthy products that are sold by schools and sports teams. We are an internet based company with no outside sales people and do no advertising. That means that I rely entirely on search marketing and SEO to drive growth in my business.
There are all kinds of shortcuts you can take here to quickly boost your rankings. But it is no doubt playing with fire. I’ve seen sites get dinged and dropped from the search engines for pushing the boundaries and their business was seriously hurt by it. We’re talking going from a #1 ranking for some big time terms in an industry to being nowhere in the results.
In both situations, the gym and business, patience and perseverance are the key. Want to get stronger? Bigger? Faster? It’s possible but it takes time. Want to grow your business? Want new customers? More web traffic? It’s possible but it takes time.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we will all be tempted at some point to cut corners. Most of us have a vision of how things should be and where we are going and when the opportunity to get there faster presents itself it can be hard to no jump all over it. Just make sure the path you take isn’t full of potential traps and pitfalls because in the end, cutting corners to get ahead isn’t worth killing your business.