Have you ever let an opportunity slip through your fingers because of time constraints, lack of skill or knowledge, fear, or you just didn’t feel like doing it? If you haven’t, maybe you’ve heard of a gentleman by the name of Ronald Wayne? No? Well, he is the perfect example of why you should commit first and figure it out later.
Ronald Wayne was Apple’s third co-founder along with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The reason you’ve never heard of Ronald Wayne was because he sold his Apple shares back to the Steves merely 12 days after forming the largest company in the world. Ron definitely had his excuses, but he lacked the foresight to see what lay on the horizon. Had Ron committed fully to Apple on day one and fought to figure out how to make it work, his shares would be worth 35 billion dollars today. That’s 35 billion - with a B.
Now, you may never get your chance to make a billion dollar mistake, but by committing first and figuring out the details later, you will also never have to think, “what if?”
This teaching came to me thanks to the amazing words of Grant Cardone. Grant is best known for his books If You’re Not First, You’re Lastand The 10X Rule. Grant has made his career off of committing first and figuring things out later.
After reading his books for the first time, I decided to give committing first a try. I knew that I wanted to get to know the executive team of one of the largest hearing aid manufacturers in the world so I could build some meaningful business relationships. The only question was how. I decided to ask the president of the company in question out to lunch and surprisingly, he said yes. We spoke at length about the books we were reading and the hearing aid industry. He asked many questions about change management because he heard that was one of my specialties. Towards the end he asked me if I would talk to his executive team and teach them about leadership through change. I immediately thought of Grant Cardone’s words and said yes without another second of thought. Now, I have read seven to ten books on change and change management but I had neither given a talk nor run a seminar on it before. Even so, committing to it first meant that I would have to come through or I would not only make myself look silly but potentially cause ill-will between our companies. This commitment drove me to do the necessary research and craft an outstanding presentation.
So how do you use this amazing skill for yourself? If an opportunity aligns with your life goals, take it. Commit to it first and work through the details later. The commitment to the person or organization will drive you to complete tasks and projects due to the social implications and the need to save face. Even if you don’t know anything about the topic you’ve been asked to work on, if it moves your personal or professional peg towards your end goal, commit to it and find a way to make it work. The worst thing that can happen is you learn more about yourself and your potential abilities.
The next time life gives you an opportunity in the form of a new project, community event, seminar, or 35 billion dollar computer deal, commit first and figure out the details later. It could be the most important decision of your life.