Control Your Own Destiny But If You Can’t, Give Them No Choice But To Hold The Door Open For You

Jan 09 2013

It’s funny how and where life/business reminders seem to pop up. I was sitting at my daughter’s volleyball game last night.  It was opening game of the season and I was looking forward to seeing how the team and my daughter progressed from the previous year.  I admit, I’m one of those Dads. I come to see my daughter play and I’m only happy if my daughter is happy. She’s practiced and camped all summer trying to get better because this is the first year there are cuts in Jr. High.  Before this point, by the rules, everyone got to play equal time. This year cuts were made and now the coach gets to make the call who plays.  Long story short, my daughter had been told the night before she was on the starting rotation and would start the first game.  Like all 14 year olds, she was excited.  She always starts as a runner because everyone starts, it’s who gets home first that counts.  In this case, she was chosen.  Two minutes before game time she’s told that she wouldn’t be starting and would be replaced by the coach’s daughter.  She barely made it in the first and never saw any time after that.  After the summer camps and private coaching sessions she was easily in the top 5. To not be in the top 14 was tough on her (and yes me) .  After the game I gave her one piece of advice in life. 

It’s hard to completely avoid letting people control your destiny but try.  Do your best to control your own fate.  If you can’t,  be so good or so important to that person that they want you to be a part. So good, that opening the doors for you helps them and if they don’t,  they look like a fool.

In her case I said keep working hard in practice, do your best in the games.  If you’re good enough,  your teammates, the other coaches, even the parents, will question the coach as to why you’re not in the game more often.  If you’re good enough, he’ll have no choice but to play you or he will look like a fool. It’s hard for a 13 year old girl to grasp this but I think she did.  And this thought goes WAY beyond junior high volleyball.  It’s a solid reminder for all business people.

This same concept translates to domaining or web development.  Trying not to put your destiny in the hands of others, especially in the hands of one.  Google is the perfect example.  Do you want to build a business that relies completely on Google to exist?  Even Google doesn’t want that.   They want you to build a strong business and solid website that attracts customers on it’s own. THEN they want to monetize it.  They don’t want to control your destiny….so don’t let them.

The same can be said for your income.  You don’t want any one thing as your sole source of income. You want to diversify.  You don’t want your results to be completely dictated by the success of that one area. If it fails then you fail.  Control your destiny by constantly adding new profit centers that help your company grow and offset the aging areas of income.   Adding Rick’s new leasing program is a good example. Have more than one built out website. Work more than one niche. Flipping names and parking others.  All of which combine to a good income but one taken away doesn’t kill you.  Hurt yes, kill no.   Again, not letting one thing control your destiny.

Then there’s working for others.  Working for someone else is fine. Most of the world does. But as an employee you at the mercy of the person above you to whether or not you move up. It’s why I chose to go into business with my Father.  I know he believed in me so there was no convincing.  There was proving, but not convincing.  There is a difference.  The problem with working for someone else is you can prove yourself but they still don’t give you opportunity.  Much like the volleyball coach, those people have other interest at play.  The only way to assure your path is to be so damn good that your boss and more importantly, his boss, can see that not letting you move forward within the company is a mistake and hurts their reputation and even profits.  Not moving you up risks you moving to another company.  Always try and put that pressure on your boss.  Or better yet, be the boss.

Finally, not everyone is made to be a leader or a boss. Not everyone WANTS to control their destiny.  Without followers there are no leaders.  My wife points this out every day.  In this case you want to be an asset.  An asset so strong that you are constantly being rewarded for what you bring to the team.  It’s comforting to have a subordinate do great work but have no desire to take your job.  People will often reward people of this nature more often because they’re easier to manage.  The people that control your destiny won’t open the door for you because you’re not asking for it to be open,  but they will make sure you get an office with lots of windows.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Perry

    Damn inspirational and well written. You have great insight into life, Shane. Thanks for sharing.

    Your daughter is fortunate to have such a wise father. Can’t imagine how difficult that must have been for you to watch unfold.

    – Perry

  2. Jason Thompson

    Excellent write up Shane. I think all of us can relate to this.

    There is a typo in this sentence:

    “The only was to assure your path is to be so damn good that your boss and more importantly, his boss, can see that not letting you move forward within the company is a mistake and hurts their reputation and even profits.”

    was = way

  3. Garry Epperson

    Thanks Shane. Great analogy and great life lesson for your daughter…and everyone else as well.


    That’s a PG typo compared to what Shane replied a few days ago when he meant to say he spit out his coke. I think the mental image I pictured of it gave me brain damage.

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