The Curse of Learning

Posted on
January 14, 2020

Reading more this year wasn't a new years resolution of mine, but alas it's only January 14th and I've already gotten through 4 books! However there is a dark side to all this learning...

I kind of stumbled upon reading more books simply because my wife informed me there is a library app called Libby where you could borrow books digitally in both ebook form and audio.

I hate going to the physical library, but now there is a library in my pocket that I don't have to pay for! 

I've gotten a variety of books, some on mindset and productivity, some on parenting, and a few on marketing and sales.

One of my goals this year is to really up-level my expertise in my business. I help businesses create clear and compelling marketing messages so they can increase sales (as a StoryBrand Guide, messaging is my jam). Continual learning allows me to go deeper so I can always give more value to my clients.

With Libby I'm able to pick an audio book, put it on 1.5x speed and listen to it while at the gym or doing chores around the house.  

Also I have a few physical books I've started reading in the morning. I pour myself some coffee, grab a book, and read for 20-30 minutes before my family wakes up.  

It's been super fun.

HOWEVER this morning was different.

This morning in particular, I was getting excited by what I was learning... I was scribbling down notes, mapping out ideas for myself and for a client, and ended up reading for 90 minutes instead of my normal 30. I was in the zone.

I then passed my wife as she woke up, chipper because of my newfound smartness, happily saying good morning as I jumped in the shower.

But suddenly my excitement dropped.

These thoughts raced through my brain...

"Matt you are so far behind..."

"This book you are reading mapped out the perfect sales funnel. Why don't you have the perfect sales funnel up on your website? Oh my gosh... what happens if someone gets on your website today? You need to fix this asap or your business is going to fail. You should have had more sales calls this month. Who is going to be your next big client? It's all your fault. You are so far behind and need to catch up!" 

Haha... :)

Not sure if anyone else deals with this or not.

Thankfully I worked with a life coach for 8 months in 2018 (Kacey rocks if you need a great coach) and one of my coworkers is a coach (Steve and his team at Greenhouse rocks). I recommend both of them.

I quickly recognized my limiting beliefs and took a deep breath and smiled at myself in the shower... "There ya go bud, trying to discount yourself again. Embrace the process and enjoy today. Having a kick butt sales funnel won't increase your happiness one bit... but loving yourself and giving yourself grace will."

For a bit my coach encouraged me to stop reading and listening to podcasts altogether. It was a really great season for me to just pick my path and to stick with it choosing to trust the process I set in front of myself to do it's job. It was fun to just pick podcasts simply for entertainment sake or to listen to music discovering new bands.

It was as if I was on a knowledge detox of sorts. Not that knowledge is bad... but more for my brain to reset and to start trusting myself a bit more.

It's easy to get distracted by all the gurus selling the "secrets to success" identifying all the areas I haven't thought about yet. And it's easy to look side to side at all your competitors who launch a new ad campaign and to get jealous that you didn't think of that first.

"Oh crap... they are doing a podcast now? Maybe I should do one too!"

"Their ad copy is so good. Why didn't we think of that?"

"They have a new website. We need a new website!"

"Oh my goodness... they keep shooting live videos and posting them in LinkedIn, I need to shoot more videos."

My coach helped me identify my "secret sauce" and what I naturally bring to any situation. I needed to continually remind myself that sure others have gone before me and are doing great things that I can for sure learn from, but my path should never be about becoming them, but it should be about becoming me.

So one thing I still want to do as I move into this new year is to continue to go deeper and to learn more by reading. My knowledge detox has ended...

However as I do this I'm going to keep it all in perspective.

My youngest son (8 years old) was reading the book "Love Does (for kids)" by Bob Goff the other day. He was really into chapter one telling me about all the mistakes the main character made but how none of those mistakes defined the main character, where in fact these mistakes were steps towards the main character becoming something great.

"Dad we are becoming."

This was the perfect thing for me to hear (as a business owner who sometimes struggles with imposture syndrome) and hopefully this message my son will remember forever.

He wrote me this note which I hung by my desk:

So keep learning and crushing your book list for 2020, but be careful as you strive for knowledge and ideas.

Remember you are becoming! 

Posted on
January 14, 2020
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