When you ask the average person what they really want out of life, they’ll usually tell you that a) they want to be happy and b) they want to be successful. Although those may seem to be very general statements, they’re actually pretty specific and very personal depending on who you’re talking to.
So how do you cultivate success in your business and your life?
Always be in permanent beta.
I first heard about the concept of permanent beta from the book, The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career. This concept takes the idea of being a work in progress to the next level. The idea is that you are a work in progress AND that’s exactly where you want to be.
What exactly is beta?
According to Louis Chew, beta is “a stage in development where the product is being tested through constant experimentation and usage. During this stage, an imperfect product is released to a select group of testers in order to receive feedback. This way, bugs — problems with certain features — can be quickly surfaced and worked on. Only after most errors are resolved is the final product released for general use and considered complete.”
For example, right now I am knee deep in beta testing my monthly membership program, The Red Carpet Collective. I’ve done a soft launch of this program to my e-mail list and I’m working with these early adaptor members to work out the kinks in my program.
For a sweet discount rate, these members go through the material and give me lots and lots of feedback — what resonates with them, what concepts they are having a hard time grasping, where I need to be more clear, what programming they’d like to see in the future, etc.
I take the feedback they give me and I edit, start from scratch or completely pivot as necessary. I’m trying new things, seeing what works, failing fast in real time and making adjustments quickly.
This is what it means to be in permanent beta.
Human beings have a deep need for safety and security. This need often drives them to do things that aren’t in their best interests. Because they’re afraid to dip their toes in the water, they stay safely on the boat. However, in the event that the boat capsizes, they find themselves drowning because they never took the time to learn how to swim.
But not you, boo. You’re gonna take this lesson and run with it.
So how exactly do you stay in permanent beta? Here are four ideas for you to implement right now:
1. Always be learning.
Here’s the deal: business and life, in general, are changing at the speed of light. Can you imagine what it felt like to work at the best typewriter manufacturing company when personal computers came on the scene?
The way we live our lives is changing rapidly. Think back ten years ago. Five years ago. Heck, even last year. It’s cray how much things change (especially slang. Who says “cray” anymore?).
That being said, you’ve got to freshen up on your skills and add new ones to the mix. Even if you’ve got job security. Even if you’re solid. Take online courses. Workshops. Webinars. Trainings. If you work in Marketing, take some Finance courses, so that you can understand your company’s P&L. If you work in Operations, try your hand at graphic design.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to learning.
Fail often. Fail fast. Because each failure is a lesson and the more lessons you have, the better.
2. Build solid relationships.
Some call it networking. Honestly, that word freaks me out. Makes me think of going to happy hours and being approached by some guy who gives me an elevator pitch plus a business card before he hurries to catch the next person who just came through the door.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t attend networking mixers and happy hours. Go to all of them. But approach them with the mindset that a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.
Give people your full attention. Ask them questions and then really listen to what they have to say. Follow-up with them and keep following up with them. Send them articles, noteworthy news, best practices, invitations to other events they’d might benefit from.
Add value to your relationships. What slowly starts to happen is that your relationships form a web underneath you that will help you bounce back, should your company go through a round of lay-offs or should you need a change.
Don’t be that person who only hits people up when (s)he needs something. “Hey. I met you at a mixer in 2007. I see you work at Google now. Are ya’ll hiring?”
Keep in touch with people. Help them and wish them the best. I guarantee you that energy will be returned to you tenfold.
3. Go to conferences that interest you.
Set aside a small percentage of your monthly wage towards conferences. Marketing conferences. Yoga conferences. Gardening conferences. All the conferences. Gives you a chance to get out of your comfort zone, learn and meet people.
No room in the budget? Volunteer. This gives you an inside look into how the conference is put together, gives you a chance to shine and you might be the lucky one who stays with Amal Clooney in the green room as she preps for her keynote speech.
To clear up some general misconceptions, meditation isn’t tied to any particular religion. It’s not something that you need to do whilst wearing a lungi in a cave in India. (Hey, if the spirit moves you, though, go for it. I support you 100%.)
Meditation is accessible to you wherever you are.
Every single moment of every day, you are bombarded with so much information, both external and internal. Everyone has an opinion about what you should be doing — your boss, your mom, your girlfriend, your dog (Pet me now!). It’s really hard to be creative and to come up with solutions when you’re overwhelmed by the noise in your head.
Meditation helps you to build your mental focus muscles.
It’s as simple as taking five minutes to focus on your breath. Not sure where to begin? You’re welcome to download my free 5 minute mental burpee meditation. Try it out for 40 days and see how meditation increases your creativity and helps you recognize opportunities in disguise.
So there you have it.
Permanent beta is your new best practice, your new mantra, your new way of life.
Always be learning. Build solid relationships. Go to conferences. Meditate. Do all of this so that when life (and business) happens, you’ll be able to fully ride each wave as it comes.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. LEAVE A COMMENT WITH YOUR BEST PRACTICES FOR STAYING IN PERMANENT BETA.
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