Bruce Lee died at 32 years of age.
His legendary status in martial arts was already secure. The man had mastered his trade.
Lee was more than just a master practitioner and teacher of martial arts though. He was also a highly conscious man.
Like all masters he was constantly approached by people asking him to teach them his skills. Every time he was asked, Lee took the same approach.
He’d take the person into his gym and observe their technique. Then he’d take them into a room with a long table.
He’d sit at one end, the would-be student at the other.
On the table sat two full glasses of liquid. One contained coca-cola, the other water.
He held up the glass of coca-cola. “This is your knowledge” he said. “This is what you know”.
Then he held up the glass of water. “This is my knowledge. This is what I know and this what you want from me”.
Holding both glasses he then said, “I can’t give you my knowledge, because you’ve got too much of your own.”
He paused, not breaking eye contact with the student, to allow the impact of the statement to have its effect.
Then, breaking silence, he held up the glass of coke “only if you’re willing to get rid of your knowledge can you and I work together”.
Lee knew that what most people understood about martial arts was wrong, just like what most people understand about what it takes to be successful is wrong.
Before I stepped out into entrepreneurial life, I spent 19 years in corporate sales, the last decade of which was in high level, big ticket, multi million pound deals.
I knew a thing or two about sales and marketing.
At the beginning of this century I did a Diploma in Business Management, effectively 75% of an MBA. A significant portion of the curriculum focused on the well established and broadly accepted fundamentals of best practice business marketing.
And yet still I led my business into liquidation in 2009.
Because none of what I knew and none of what I was taught was relevant to how to successfully and profitably market a small business.
And my results could only reflect the fact.
When a business is built on word of mouth alone, as mine was, it’s horribly exposed. Any business built on just one or two channels to market is vulnerable, forever tinkering on the edge of oblivion.
I knew, when I dusted myself down and got to have a go at this entrepreneurial game once more, I had to find the masters of how to market my business successfully and get rid of my knowledge to take on theirs.
Which is exactly what I did.
In recent years I’ve invested a healthy six figures in acquiring the understanding of leading edge marketing strategies most business owners will never know.
And they’ll never know them because they’re not willing to think outside of what they already know, in other words, they’re not willing to empty their glass of coke to take on the water in the glass of someone who’s shown, by their results, they know how to do it better.
A lot of people would rather be right than rich.
I never wanted to face the indignity of liquidation again, so I emptied my glass and took on the water. As a consequence, I’ve built a million dollar global coaching practice from ground zero in less than four years.
I’m not sharing this to boast in anyway. I was as ignorant as the majority for many years, so I’m in no position to be conceited and I’ve no wish to be either. I know only too well I couldn’t have done it without gaining the awareness from people who clearly had the understanding I lacked.
There are two ways of marketing a business. One pays the other costs. I’ve spent time in both camps and I know which camp I prefer.
Christian Simpson is the UK’s leading coach and mentor to business owners and entrepreneurs. For COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS to tried, tested and proven entrepreneurial success strategies, click here