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Are You Still “Getting Ready To Get Ready”? By Martin Howey

by | Martin Howey

I’ll never forget the phone call I had 36 years ago with Joe Charboneau, CSP, CPAE, and a member of the National Speakers Association Speaker Hall of Fame.

Being a member of the Board of NSA, I knew about Joe and some of his accomplishments and his reputation for building an effective, results-generating presentation. 

I had been in the speaking/sales/marketing game for more than 10 years at the time, so I was pretty competent at what I was doing.

But I was getting ready to make a brand new presentation to an important client who had used my services previously, and I was looking for some new ideas and a new approach that they hadn’t seen before. 

The Question That Stopped Me In My Tracks 

At the very beginning of our conversation… before we got into the details of what I was looking for, Joe asked me a question that stopped me in my tracks, and I wasn’t sure how to answer. He said, “If I spend my time with you and give you my thoughts, how are you going to use them?” 

As I mentioned, the question caught me off guard so I replied, “What do mean, how am I going to use them? I wouldn’t have come to you if I wasn’t planning on using them.” 

Very quickly, Joe shot back, “Yeah, I hear that kind of thing a lot. People reach out to me for help all the time, but most don’t do anything with the information. So many people are in the ‘Getting ready to get ready’ mode… always looking for the next big idea, the next magic bullet… that’s going to change everything for them. But very few ever take action, and to be honest and upfront with you, I don’t want to waste your time, and I certainly don’t want to waste mine. So where are you? Are you ‘ready,’ or are you ‘getting ready’?” 

Well, that got me thinking about where I really was in the process, and because I had an important presentation coming up and a deadline to meet, I told Joe that I was ready and would definitely put his information into practice. 

The Commitment That I Had To Make 

Joe then asked me for a commitment; he said that before I made my presentation, he wanted me to show him my outline, tell me the stories and examples I was going to use, how they were relevant and the points they were making. 

He wanted me to explain specifically how the audience (and my client) would benefit (WIIFM), what my Call To Action would be, and what I would do as a follow-up after the presentation… how I would extend the value of what I presented long after the presentation had ended. 

Well, that was quite an order. But I wanted his help, and his questioning really got me thinking about the seriousness of asking people to sit through my presentation and what kind of payoff (ROT – Return On Time) they were going to get. 

I realized that when a client hired me, it was serious business for them. They were asking their people to take time out and put everything in their lives and in the company’s business on hold. 

They were to stop production, put their clients’ concerns aside, delay sales and profit generation, and listen to a presentation that hopefully could make them better, more productive, and efficient at their jobs, and in a positive way contribute to the overall profitability of the company. 

The Investment That If Lost, Can’t Be Recovered 

When someone invests money (whether its $1, $100, $1,000, or more) in something, they expect to get a positive return on that investment. If they don’t… if the investment was bad, ill-advised, or somehow went upside down and they lost that money, the money could be replaced.

It may take a little while or a little effort, but money can always be replaced. 

On the other hand, if someone invests time (whether it’s 5 minutes, 15 minutes, an hour, or more), that time is gone forever… it can never be replaced.

Time is what life is made of, and if you’re asking someone to give you their time (no matter how much time, or whatever the reason), you have a moral obligation to not waste that time… to do everything in your power to ensure that your audience (whether 1 person or 1,000 people) gets the absolute most value possible. 

So What About You? 

This concept has direct relevance to each of us, personally. Where are you in your business, your career, or your personal life, for that matter?

Are you in the “Ready” phase… ready to take action, to make the most and best use of your time (your life), and provide value to others as well as yourself? 

Or, are you still in the “Getting ready to get ready” phase… always looking for that next thing that’s going to make it all come together for you? 

Keep in mind, business (or your career… what you do to generate the income to provide for your and your family’s needs) is a part of your life… not your entire life but a big part of it.

Instead of spending time in your business or your employment, you could be doing a lot of other things that may be more enjoyable and memorable, and spending that time with people you love. 

Where are you now? Where were you last month, 3 months ago, 6 months ago, a year or longer ago? Have you progressed? Moved forward?

Or are you still stuck in the same place? 

Running Your Own Business?

If you’re in business, what are you doing? Still trying to figure out how to get your first client? Are you still looking at all the social media sites and all the “gurus” hocking their “Get a Ton of Hot New Leads” courses? Are you still trying to determine which of all the marketing resources that are available to you is the best to use? 

How long are your clients buying from you? Do you operate your business on a “One and Done” model… making a sale to one person then moving on to the next person?

Or do you offer some type of continuity program that makes it more advantageous for your customers and clients to continue doing business with you, and so they wouldn’t even consider leaving you for any other option? 

What about your prices? Are you selling at the optimal price point for what you’re offering? Or are you afraid to charge what you and/or your product or service are actually worth, based on the value it provides your customers and clients, so you charge the bare minimum that you think people will pay? 

Do You Sell Your Time? 

Perhaps you work for an employer and you get paid for the work you do and the value you create for them. How are you doing with your job? Happy? Satisfied? Content? Or are you looking for something else… something more satisfying, more rewarding, or less stressful? 

When you work for someone else, unless you provide extreme and difficult-to- find value, you are surrendering control of your time, your income, your life, and the kind of lifestyle you provide for your family and your eventual retirement to the person or organization you work for. 

How you and your family live now and in the future is largely dependent on how you value and are compensated for your time. If you’re okay with relinquishing control of the value (your knowledge, skills, expertise, and experience) and the way you’re compensated to someone else, then you’ll need to resign yourself to accepting the things that decision nets you. 

On the other hand, if you want more… more time, more control, more freedom, and the ability to live a life of greater abundance you may want to look at some other options. 

You Are Not Your Customer… Or Your Job Title 

Remember, you’re not your customer and you’re not your job title.

If you’re in business and you serve clients or customers, don’t let your prejudices, biases, and personal opinions influence their buying decisions. Don’t judge what someone else might (or will) pay because you wouldn’t pay that much.

People buy because of the value it provides them… both real value and perceived value. And those values may be different for them than they are for you. 

Likewise, if you work for an employer, be careful not to let their personal opinions (or your job description) totally define who you are and what your value is.

They may control what you do and how much they pay you, but don’t let them stifle your thinking.

The same value you provide your employer can often be parlayed into a business of your own where you have more control over your time and income. 

“Real Value” is what people get… “Perceived Value” is what they think they’re getting. A Toyota Camry and a Lexis are basically the same car. They’re made by the same company, and both vehicles have virtually the same amount of metal, rubber, fabric, glass, and plastic… and they’ll both get you to the same destination in relatively the same comfort, in the same time, and with pretty much the same gas mileage. 

What Makes One Product “More Valuable” Than Another Similar Product? 

So why is the Lexus priced much higher than the Camry… and why are people willing to pay a higher price for basically the same car?

Because marketing has positioned the Lexus as a higher-end, more prestigious, more luxurious, more expensive vehicle, and a certain segment of the population has bought into that, agrees with it, and will willingly pay the extra amount. 

If you’re in business, what are you doing with and how are you positioning the products and services you sell? Are you selling a “product” (a book, a course, a training seminar or workshop, etc.). Or are you touting the benefits, advantages, and results that your product produces for the buyer? 

If you work for an employer, what are you doing with the education, knowledge, skills, abilities, expertise, and experience that you’ve acquired over many years and at considerable financial cost and time-sacrifice?

How are you positioning you and your assets to be of the highest value possible so you’re known, recognized, appreciated, valued, and compensated at the highest level possible? 

Once you understand (and accept) the power of proper positioning and how to communicate it, your business or your career will take off and your life will never be the same. 

It’s Really A Simple Process 

If you’re still trying to figure all this out… you’re still “Getting ready to get ready,” now is the time to put everything you’re doing aside, go to a place where you can’t be interrupted, turn off your phone and computer, and sit down with a pad and pen… and yourself. 

Take a good look at your life, your business, and your assets, and determine what you have, what kinds of results it (and you) can provide your chosen market or employer, and map out a 3 to 5 step process to communicate that value, how you’re going to put it into action and set a timeline with a deadline for getting it done. 

If you’re in business, forget about all the “stuff” you have at your disposal… “75 Ways to Generate Leads,” “37 Ways to Close a Sale,” “13 Ways to Get a Strategic Alliance Partner,” “135 Proven Headlines,” and all the rest.

Looking at that stuff falls into the “Getting ready to get ready” category, and if you’re not careful, can literally sap your time away from more important things. 

What you need to do is to actually “Get Ready”… and that takes focus and discipline.

Focus on 3 to 5 things that will create immediate results, and then discipline yourself to take action.

That’s what I learned from Joe Charboneau those 36 years ago… it still works for me today, and it can work for you as well. 

If you would like to learn a simple 1, 2, 3, step system that will enable you to take you from where you (or your business) from where you (or it) is now, to where you (or your business) would like to be, then schedule a personal call with me on my online calendar at and we can explore your situation and see that you have all the information you need to get out of the “Getting ready to get ready” stage and enable you to achieve the goals and aspirations you desire.

 About Martin Howey

Martin Howey helps executives leave their corporate jobs and start, run, and profit from their own highly profitable, in-demand business consulting practices. He has spent the past 50+ years helping more than 4,000 professionals in over 5-dozen countries monetize their skills, knowledge, and expertise, and pursue their passions in businesses of their own.

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