This is right on the money! I own my own business and I work very hard. I agree that a 4 hour work week is totally unrealistic. I also really appreciate this post because it red-flagged a few things I see that I need to work on to become even more professional ... and as a result, successful. Thanks Randy! Hope you are enjoying your sabbatical.
Be a Professional
by Randy Gage
I got an email from a colleague recently. He suggested we should collaborate on something together. And that will never happen…
He’s a sharp guy, I like him and he has valuable content that could contribute to a project. But I’ll never work with him, because he can’t be counted on to return a message. I know from past experience that he starts a project, makes commitments, then goes AWOL for weeks at a time. His word means nothing. He’s certainly not alone…
I have another colleague that told me, “You just sent one email? You have to nag me five or six times to make sure I get it.”
No, no I don’t. I prefer to work with people I don’t have to chase after.
Then there are all the people who read The 4-Hour Workweek and really believed it. You know them because they brag about how they might only check email every three or four weeks. Listen, it’s a great book and it will provide you some helpful lessons on lifestyle and productivity. But don’t be foolish enough to think that Timothy Ferriss actually works only four hours a week.
I sure there are a couple weeks that was true. Just like it was true for me when I went to Hawaii and Bali. But if you think any high leader achievers in any field do it with four hours a week, you’re not thinking rationally.
And if you think you’re impressing me by telling me you have more than 1,000 unanswered emails in your box, or it might be a month before I get a reply from you on something, you’re very mistaken. It just tells me you’re an amateur.
Yes of course you should have family and recreation time and set boundaries. But successful people also work. Hard. And the most successful people are successful because we seek out other professionals to work with.
You can tell a professional because they:
- Keep their commitments.
- Can be reached within a reasonable time frame.
- Return their messages or have a process in place to handle them when they’re not available.
- Work because it’s a passion of theirs.
So how are you doing on all this?
Mr Gage, you have got all my respect. Just finishing your book and cannot wait to read another. Lots of love from a lil businesswoman from the Czech Republic! :)
Professionalism is mostly about respecting people. I expect that others will be busy. In fact I expect them to be busier than I am. For that reason, I do my very best to provide what they need as quickly as possible, and to express gratitude for their quick responses to me.
@C50something cool, thanks
Some poeple believe that the hallmark of success is to be busy, unreachable, to forget meetings and commitments because they have their head in more important things. A bit like the stupid stereotype portraied by some old movies where the big shot is an idiot nursed by a stressed out secretary that knows everything and does everything.
Most people who are in business will recieve more email then strictly necessary. If the mail is all mixed up, the unsolicited mail with the important, the result is that the threshold rises and the person needs 6 e-mails to "get his attention". The trick is to reduce the flow of unsolicited mail or to have two separate accounts. I have 4 different e-mail address and I carefully determine which one to give out. I had to close some accounts that started to get swamped with spam and became unusable.
Of course this has little to do with being unreliable, unpredictalbe or go walkabout at the drop of a hat.
It took nearly a year, with much trial and error, to get one of my businesses to the point it was totally mobile. I have clients in that business that at times need stuff NOW... :) Some of the ideas that came from the 4 hour work week book certainly opened my mind to take different actions in order to gain a lot of time and I am grateful for the insights in that book. I too however know ppl with hundreds on unanswered emails in their inbox. I like to call that ignorant, not to mention the lost opportunities in those messages. It can be tricky to manage time but professionalism demands it, plus it allows time for fun. Great post. Thanks.
When I went to bed yesterday my inbox was empty, all e-mails had been dealt to. Now that gives me a peace of mind :)
Doing good. I respond to emails within 1-2 days. This helps me dissolve attachments to email, which is far and away the biggest block to my creativity.
Get back in a reasonable time frame and you open many doors that slow responders keep closed. Pros know that you must have a life too, so pull back and take breaks or go on email sabbaticals for a few days here and there.
I was going to respond with a different viewpoint, then, after reading all the comments realized, that I was a click away from becoming a black swan. Good save on my part! Yey! I'll still do the clickity thing, just in the mainstream of exhibited opinions! You know, professional and all! :)
Randy, I truly believe that the qualities that you are referring to are what separate the top 5% from the other 95%. I quickly write-off people who cannot, or will not, be prompt and courteous in their responses or act with integrity generally. Being able to deliver what you promise, and ideally more or earlier, is crucial to success in business, and this means being 'on the ball'.
If you lead your life as if your commitment can take the back burner approach, you will not be considered as a professional, let alone as a leader.
This is especially true in property investing. Your team that includes agents, bank managers, partners, solicitors, builders and tenants all need to behave professionally. When they're not performing, you need to part company at your earliest opportunity.
I absolutely Soooo Agree... It is actually poor form and obnoxious to think You are so Great that You don't need to get back to people in a timely matter, if you are busy get a VA, a Team to help with your mail, if You want high quality clients it takes getting back to them sometimes immediately...
Good point. Now, in a deeper level, I think unprofessionalism and uneffective time management goes back to personal beliefs about our selfs. Low self steem and low self respect I believe are the cause of such behaviors.
It's good to see that someone of your level of success also understands the true definition of Integrity, which I assumed you did. Most people don't realize that integrity is not something you learn, but rather is integral to Who You Are.. It means not only keeping agreements with others, but with YOURSELF as well. People that lack basic integrity are NOT people I want to collaborate with or even be friends with. This can make friendships challenging but in the end, I believe its best to surround ourselves with people who play on the same field as we do..
Right on Randy..... I delete the slackers from my sources. Productive workers don't have time for those who just can't seem to reply in a timely fashion. Let them waste someone else's time....
Spot on RG. The people that drive me crazy are the ones that can not pick up the phone and answer but can text you 5 paragraphs saying they are too busy to chat. It took them 10 minutes to type that garbage.
It's also amazing with social media being the way it is for someone to say Oh I have just been to busy to respond to you for the last two weeks...when you can see them online playing games on facebook or posting link after link on linkedin.
I actually tend to find now that if someone always claims that they are just soooooo busy...that normally they are not at all..but like to maintain the appearance so they can remain lazy and surf the internet. Busy people know they are busy...and occasionally drop the ball on getting back but it does not happen often. They don't need to continue to notify the world that they are busy.
Right on! Drives me nuts too when so called professionals think it's OK to respond in their own time, if ever after multiple attempts because they are so "busy" ... yet, they expect just the opposite when they are making requests! And that's what I LOVE about ... well one of the reasons... you walk your talk and always respond quickly & effectively!
Right on, Randy! I used to think I was doing something wrong because I was working so damn hard for what I was going after. No longer and I do create balance. And yes there are some good tips from Timothy Ferriss about leveraging our time and involving others, but not staying connected and responding to others never made sense to me. I have a couple of colleagues locally that I invited to collaborate on a couple of projects and when I didn't hear back from them after two attempts to communicate with them, I removed them from my list. That has become my standard practice...those who are willing to work like me respond and get involved. I dig your no-nonsense "use your head, people" approach to matters - it just makes sense to me. Thanks for all your hard work! - Robb
Thanks Randy. I thought I was the only one that had these issues with people. It is comforting to know that someone like Randy, who I would respond to immediately also has these issues.
Yes Randy, this is the habit that I learned directly from you. Thank you for it.
And not because you have said it, but because you do it.
Oh my God, this is so spot on! Almost everyone i know and with whom I do business answers an email within minutes. My partner has another style, as do his clients, which is incredibly frustrating.
I sense your frustration Randy, and I think many of us have the same issues when dealing with these slackers. They don't reply to emails, they 'miss' text messages, and won't answer when you call. They arrive at everything late and need to leave early. I've found the only solution to be the one you're applying - cut them off and let them learn the hard way. When they end up sitting around with nothing to do and no money come in, they may just wake up to why.
I'm sure looking for people to work with like that, Randy, you did it again...thank you for striking the cord the right way and tell us like it is.!
Randy! this is Huge because that very thing you described in such great detail was ME! You are so on point!
@1Marc We've seen, known, or in some cases have been, perpetually busy people.
Working 80+ hours a week seems to be a badge of courage for some people- especially in professional and entrepreneurial circles.
It's also a badge of courage amongst people who are poor or middle class who wish to validate that life is about struggle, pain, and being a victim of someone else's actions.
I understand that sometimes you need to take your nose to the grindstone and burn the midnight oil.
But if you're filling every moment with busy work to justify something, you're missing out on life.
I do disagree with the opposite- Tim Ferris' view that everything can be done in only 4 hours a week. Tim is a very smart guy, and an incredibly savvy marketer, and his ideas have benefitted a lot of people, but people want to deal with people, not someone they outsourced everything to in India since they wanted to save money.
@carmen161595 We also must remember that when you make a mistake or can't deliver on time, being able to deal with that with integrity and grace.
It will upset other people, but it can and does happen.
Actually Thomas, I was referring to the reason or origin of such behaviour not judging it as bad. The anti value of "busy-unreliable-unreachable" as a hallmark of success is moronic, I agree, but just like "rich is bad" people believe it and put it on because they have been programmed with it.
It is by recognising behaviour as the result of bad programming or anti-values like Randy likes to call it, that a person can change and de-program him or herself. To tell the person he is a moron, wouldn't help a lot even when sometimes may make us feel better.
After all most if not all our own behaviour is the result of before 10 programming and the results we have achieved in life are the direct reflection of that programming or the result of our own work in changing the program by recognising it as not conductive to what we would like our life to be.
@1Marc @ThomasMrak Thanks for sharing 1Marc.
One day, at the age of 25 when I noticed that I was repeating a lot of the same behavior of my parents.
Coincidentally, that was when I first learned about "Why You're, Dumb, Sick, and Broke."
That was when I began to work on changing how I thought about things.
I'm 31 now, and while sometimes I regret wasting my younger years, I realize I could have easily have not awakened to the negative script I had learned growing up.