If All You Do Is Think You Should Be Doing Better, You Won’t

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Sep 2, 2014

When I was 16 years old I came home from a particularly hard day’s work at Burger King where I commanded a wage of $3.35 per hour. (Yeah, minimum wage.) My very loving and supportive mother asked me how my day was and I remember answering, “It was long, difficult and hot…  I should be making A LOT more to do this job!” I was expecting a supportive hug, a “Keep it up honey, they’ll recognize your worth.”… Something like that.

My mother’s response floored me; I’ll never forget it. She said in a pretty terse tone, “NO you shouldn’t! You DON’T KNOW ANYTHING YET!”

Wow! I felt the blood drain from my face and felt very humbled and a bit humiliated, honestly.

As Tim Russert wrote, “The older I get the smarter my father  seems to get.” Substitute ‘mother’ in that sentence and that is how I feel now. You see, she was right. I was a manual laborer paid in accordance with the value I added. I wasn’t doing marketing for Burger King, I was emptying trash cans, scrubbing pans, and when I was lucky I got to make French fries! (Yes, I did wash my hands with soap after emptying the trash — just in case Mom is reading!)

The “Should” Lie

One of the lies people let imprison them is the “should” lie. Professionally, many feel if they have been in the recruiting business five, ten, twenty years or more that they “should” be treated better by clients and candidates. These same individuals feel they “should” get higher fees, retainers, exclusives. If they are owners, they “should” have the respect of their office; their recruiters “should” be working harder, “should” be motivated.

You see, these people end up “shoulding” all over themselves!

Here is where I will lose some of you:  No they shouldn’t! Sure, we can come up with some exceptions, and the worst offenders will, but that only enables their problems to continue.

Hey, I was a struggling owner who almost went bankrupt 18 months after I opened. I honestly felt I “should” be doing better. In hindsight, I was paid in proportion to the value I provided in relation to the rest of the market for recruiting services. You see, I sounded and acted like every other recruiter out there, so I was treated like every other recruiter out there.

I have been helping owners build their business and solo recruiters maximize billings as a coach and consultant since 2007. I have been truly blessed to have been invited into their business to help move them forward. Additionally, I have spoken to hundreds who wanted and needed help mainly because they felt they “should” be doing better and were looking for some silver bullet to help them. Many of those people, despite the strong economy for recruiting services, are still doing poorly.

Success Is Not Easy

Bluntly, success is not a slut; it refuses to be easy. It wants to see if you really, really want it. It plays hard to get. Success at times is cruel. It laughs at the quitters, and, frankly, enjoys seeing them go without.

Success wants to see how badly you want your goals (and… if you have even defined them specifically!)

OK, why the editorial? There is no dishonor in being average as a recruiter. Every field has average players who are decent, honorable human beings. If you feel this is you, and you are happy and content, God bless. You need to read no more.

If you do feel you should be doing better I challenge you to stop lying to yourself, and blaming your clients and candidates for any misfortune you may be experiencing.

Please don’t be offended if you are getting average or mediocre results, even if you are working long hours. What are you doing with that time? Are you doing your own research for names to call when someone will do that same task, often better than you, for $5 to $10 per hour? Are you leaving dozens of ineffective voicemails that aren’t returned? Are you frustrated your clients are not getting back to you, yet you negotiated no defined system to communicate with them?

I’m not judging you if the above is the case. I am simply pointing to things average performers do that the top performers don’t.

Done is Better than Perfect

OK, if you are still reading you either are, a) excellent and want to continue to feel good about yourself, or b), you want more AND are willing to pay the price for success to climb into the top echelon of recruiters and offices.

Space doesn’t permit me to go over all the areas you can improve upon, and frankly, it is probably different for each of you. Some of you are probably very strong in some areas and weaker in others. Some of you may be average in a bunch of areas. Just review some of the past publications and you will have dozens of ways to improve. Pick one or two and implement them! Pick one and start now, not tomorrow, not next week. Just start. For the perfectionists out there: know that done is better than perfect!

In my life and coaching practice I have been blessed to be surrounded by excellent people who are tops at what they do. This is not an accident. I actively seek them out, befriend them and find ways to help them. You see, that is what someone who aspires to excellence should do — offer to help others first, then seek help for themselves.

Average performers and especially below average performers seek free help first, almost as if they were entitled to it, because, you know “he/she should want to help me.” I find these people rarely implement a new idea anyway as it requires work, and more frighteningly, change. Average performers attend free webinars and, if they have to spend $150 to attend an association training event, complain it’s expensive. Of course it’s expensive if you don’t implement an idea!

Failure Is a Teacher

Top performers invest in mentoring as they know it is the least expensive way to buy time in implementation and thus get speedier results and significantly larger profits. And, of course, they implement the ideas. It’s OK to be wary of doing things differently. I predict you will have failures.

Failures are simply teachers along the path to success and prosperity.

Success is a choice and not a “should.” I am truly blessed to be associated with a number of successful recruiters and I can tell you after interviewing a bunch of them in depth, they are constantly asking themselves, “What’s working? What’s not working?  What used to work and isn’t anymore and how do I adjust?” Why? Success is also fleeting. Some of the biggest billers in 2007 did not survive 2009 because they felt they shouldn’t have to adjust.

What is your choice? There is no bad one. It is YOUR choice. The only friction comes if you choose success and then act/sound/operate like the average recruiter. If you are experiencing that friction, that could be a good thing. Bluntly, then, how will you choose to adjust?

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