The Expectation Myth

First a quick story, then the secret few people know how to tell you and why it will be absolutely key if you are reading this magazine with any intention whatsoever to go into business.

I will start with one of my battles, the one with my weight. A few years back I lost a lot of weight, a lot, and was right on top of what I considered to be my perfect weight.

I was lifting big weights and was regularly running 2-3 miles for the first time since college. I expected continued success with my healthy pursuits.But failure was right around the corner, and I did not even see it coming! I was blindsided, but slowly and in such a way that I felt okay failing and giving back that result.

Here was my mistake: I did not find a reason that the outcome was more important than the pursuit. In the pursuit I was a success as far as I had gotten, then I failed… Bad. Completely unwound that entire success story and the potential evaporated right in front of me.

Have you ever gotten just far enough to feel like you did something towards a goal, but not far enough to really sustain a great outcome?

On the good side I am doing it again, but with the right focus, plan and support. And, I learned something. Much like computer techs writing new code to fix errors in programs, I need to reprogram the code in my head to make the outcome permanent and then pursue even greater goals.

So, I tell you all of that to tell you this:

Two thirds of the people that come to us for help in finding their perfect franchise get part way down the path then their old programming takes over and they find comfort in not pursuing their greater goals.

I never fully understood it until I started dissecting my weight battle and figuring out what was keeping me from owning an outcome I would be happy with and discovered the exact same problem.

When it comes to business I am an athlete. When I don’t move forward with a business it tends to be because of lack of opportunity rather than abundance of risk. I have no fear of starting a business and I love owning that outcome. More importantly, I will teach any one that will put up with my stories and anecdotes how to become a business athlete themselves.

That is the easy part for me. I love Mondays and don’t consider what I do to be work.

Over the past 12+ years we have seen thousands of professionals approach the idea of becoming a business owner the same way that I approach my weight. They want things to be better when they work to support their family. They want control. They want independence.

But those are the cocktail party answers, the ones they are pre-programmed to tell their friends and family.

I sat down with a Marine recruiter, years after I passed on his very convincing pitch to accept a college offer. Someday I may write a book, or two, on all I learned from him about sales.

He is one of my more interesting conversations with that wise Marine Sargent:

“When people tell you what they want they are lying, albeit unintentionally. They are not giving you reasons they will move heaven and earth to achieve a goal that some may tell them is impossible, they are giving you the easiest answer you will accept and in doing so they likely ensure they will never hit their goal.”

He had my attention.

“What they need to do, what I help them do, is to find meaning… their meaning.At the core of everything is that result or contribution where you will find happiness or fulfillment, even if those around you don’t understand or criticize you. How you get there is just a process and processes tend to be pretty logical. Processes tend to be based on knowledge, effort and practice.”

At this point I am leaning forward in my chair.

“The result of success is one thing for everyone: Your personal happiness with where you have landed, wherever that may be. Any reason for not getting there is an excuse and I don’t do excuses.”

And from that I built into my consultation process a line of questions where we could work with a candidate to build the roadmap to their outcome and a reason it will matter, the place where they could find happiness.

Our process is a logical process. The key is focusing on your outcome and finding the reason you have to move heaven and earth to get there, not the simple wish for things to be better but the thing that will get you through a business investigation focused on all the ways current business owners find success instead of finding all the ways to fail. Finding the reason you will put ego aside and bring your spouse into the investigation where they may find out you don’t have all the answers but are willing to seek them out. The reason that it won’t matter what other people think of the path you take as long as you are happy with it.

Keep in mind that there is a reason you began looking at franchises. Do your homework, find the good ones and understand what makes them tick. Push the cocktail party answers aside and find the real reasons that you must complete your franchise investigation and (if an opportunity fits) that you will find a way to overcome the fear of taking that leap towards your outcome.

So here it is, the secret:  Your Expectation of success is only as good as your core need to get there and your commitment to achieving it. After that, everything else is just the process.

Mr. Knauf is a highly sought after trusted advisor to many companies; Public, Independent and Franchised of all sizes and in many markets. His 20 plus years of experience in both startup and mature business operations makes him uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of going into business for themselves in order to gain more control, independence, time flexibility and to be able to earn in proportion to their real contribution.

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