Bruce Lee is unreal.
I decided to YouTube the popular video “One inch punch Bruce Lee,” and while I watched him gracefully exert himself with some of the most impressive moves I’ve ever seen someone do (Seriously, who can nun chuck a ping pong ball?), he always did so with the least amount of effort required so as to not lose balance, focus, or recovery for the next move.
Years ago in a prior job, I was told I was moving to an office with half the space. I walked into my current office that afternoon, sullen, and surveyed what I’d lose besides my pride; my office was an unorganized catastrophe. Where was all this junk going to fit? To learn how to get more organized, I decided to read a book titled, “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. His first chapter centered around Bruce Lee’s concept, “mind like water”, where Lee tells us that water easily and instantly takes the shape of it’s container, and to have a “Mind like Water” we need to be flexible and adaptable. It led me to discover that organization really was less about having a clean desk or having your Swingline stapler in the right position (yes, that was a reference to Office Space), and more about the importance of having systems in place that you can trust so that when something new and unexpected comes at you, you are able to easily adapt with the least amount (but the right amount) of effort to embrace the challenge
I think we can apply Bruce Lee’s “Mind like Water” philosophy to lots of everyday concepts, but many of his ideas lend extremely well to the realm of marketing. Here are three simple steps so you’ll blow people away:
1. Spend 10,000 hours at it
(that’s around 3.5 years of 8 hours every day!) In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he states that if you want to be really, really good at something, his research showed you need to spend 10,000 hours at it. It’s funny to me that people are trying so hard to debunk this kind of hard work though. Even Bruce Lee said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Now I don’t have 10,000 hours to give to learning how to nun chuck ping pong balls, nor lots of other far more important activities in life. I’m about 5,000 hours deep on marketing, and I feel a lot of days like I’m just scratching the surface. Thankfully, in the meantime I’m surrounded by a whole host of people who also have spent similar hours on marketing, so we can weave through the challenges and opportunities as they arise, and continue to grow and move forward. When I don’t know the answer to something, I make sure that I’m surrounded by 10,000+ hours of experience that will provide direction. If you don’t have 10,000 hours to give, but demand the expertise those hours provide, consider giving yourself a team that has been there.
2. Do something interesting.
Punching someone from six inches away and sending them flying across a mat is interesting. I’m not recommending you do that necessarily, but I’m guessing you think what you do is interesting, and you also need to find what it is that makes your service unique. I have a good friend who says, “You may be the most uniquely qualified person to help in that situation.” To be interesting is to stand out in a unique way. How can you make sure your customers or potential customers know that what you do may make you the most uniquely qualified person to help them?
3. Make your “mind like water.”
Think of what happens when a marble splashes into a cup of water. When it hits the body of water, that surface responds with the perfect amount of responsive energy; it splashes, reverberates, and goes back to a state of appropriate rest. Is your marketing campaign inclusive of a system that fuels a positive and repetitive customer experience? Dallas Willard once said, “Your system is perfectly designed to achieve the results you’re getting.” Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself, “If this marketing performs 100% how I want it to, what would happen? Is that sustainable in my model? If you’re going to develop a wildly successful marketing campaign, your organization has to function a lot like water – when a customer enters your circle of influence, respond, reverberate, and even ripple, without being wrecked, or wrecking your customer in the process, so that you can go back to an appropriate state of function for the next round.
Be water, my Friend.
~ Jon Switzer, Account Executive