How many of you have heard “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”?
I hear it a lot in my line of work because my goal is to help people and when that is your goal, people will present you with all kinds of opportunities.
In the last 4 months I have been presented with opportunities to brings sponsors in for a well-known boy band’s Christmas Tour, broker oil and gas deals for the “largest buyers in the world”, Executive Produce multiple movies including one with the great Denzel Washington, sell diamonds, Raise money for renewable energy projects and so on.
All of these opportunities sound amazing and considering I had no experience in any of those industries, the thought of million dollar paydays sounded way to good to be true. Maybe because I had no experience or maybe it was because I did not know how to speak the language of the industry, either way, it did not matter, I knew I was going to try anyway.
When contemplating whether or not I should attempt making these deals happen I remembered 2 quotes from 2 of my very favorite people in the world.
“The best way of learning about anything is by doing.” – Richard Branson
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso
This same mindset is what gave me the courage to launch a skincare line with no experience in the industry. I remember sitting on Deerfield Beach in Florida trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life after leaving the world of complex rehab medical equipment after 18 years. I literally wrote down everything I wanted in a career, world travel, being able to work with and help people from all over the world, fun and excitement and no more fights with Medicare!
2 weeks later, an opportunity popped up and I was terrified to take it because I had no experience and I knew nothing about the skin outside of decubitus ulcers. I just knew that I was passionate about learning more about protecting the skin after watching my father suffer then die from melanoma.
Taking that leap of faith, with nothing but a passion for helping people and belief in this amazing product propelled me on the path towards my ultimate destiny.
As my career has evolved and there have been a lot of changes, I have come across more and more opportunities that required great faith and the great debate on whether or not this opportunity was too good to be true or if it sounded too good to be true but I am going to try anyway.
A good friend of mine said the other day that “there is no such thing as a waste of time if you do not get cut, bruised or shot”. His former line of work may have had something to do with the getting shot part but he has a point.
To be honest, every one of those deals I went after did not have the outcome I hoped and prayed for (a lot) but I cannot say they were a waste of time. I did not get the deal, the millions or even a dollar for my efforts but I did get something equally as important.
I learned a lot about those industries in my efforts. In fact, I would say it was some of the best education I have e ver received. I learned how to penetrate impossible walls in having the opportunity to meet with CEO from oil, gas, entertainment and renewable energy. I learned the correct way to pursue deals like this in the future and I also expanded my network in multiple new countries.
I also learned an important lesson in discernment. Properly vetting the people you do business with is so important. I learned some hard lessons early on in my career because I took people for their word too often. Heck, in Oklahoma “handshake agreements” are really a thing and when I moved to LA, I learned that there are some amazing liars in this world who are only out for themselves.
Look, I am forever an optimist but we do have to know that there are people who will do anything and everything to get ahead in life, even if that means hurting you. Yet, all of those hard lessons did not kill me, they made me wiser, stronger and more resilient.
Another thing I learned is how much time I should spend on chasing these “too good to be true” business deals. They are worth looking at and working on. There is no telling what you can learn but do not let these deals distract you from what puts food on your table and a roof over your head.
If you are faced with one of these situations, before you start pursuing the deal, set a time limit on how long you will work on it. It will save you from getting lost in the wormhole and losing your focus on the most important things in your life including the projects that pay your bills.
It stinks not closing the deal or making the millions of dollars you wanted but does not get discouraged. Through every failure or disappointment, there is an opportunity to learn and grow in ways that will help you close the deal of your dreams.