“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~Proverb
Sometimes it can be challenging to operate with complete integrity in business—particularly because bigger and faster can be seductive.
Case in point: I have a strong aversion to many traditional marketing methods, as I find much of it to be psychologically manipulative.
I feel it’s wrong to sell people things by playing to their deepest fears and insecurities, and implying my book or product will be the magic bullet they’ve been waiting for all their lives.
I also feel uncomfortable with the idea of personal branding, since a brand is an idea or image of a product or service, and human beings are neither of those things. We may sell products or offer services, but we are not commodities—even if consumers often buy based on who is selling to them.
But statistically, products and books presented as ultimate solutions, by individuals with polished personas generally sell better.
Now you might not hold the exact same perspective as I do, but you likely have your own set of beliefs and values that inform the decisions you make professionally—and they may occasionally hinder your progress.
When we act in complete integrity, we often end up advancing at a slower pace.
I remember when I was 23, knee-deep in a corrupt multi-level marketing company, oblivious to my team’s unethical practices. Everything changed the day I heard our leader suggest we look for “ignorance on fire”—new recruits who never questioned, but merely plowed straight ahead on the path of most profitability.
Thinking and questioning can slow progress—but maybe slow progress is exactly what we need. Slow progress allows us to adapt as necessary, learn at each step of the journey, and ensure that we’re honoring our ideals and actual desires, instead of pushing ourselves blindly in the pursuit of success.
I realize this idea isn’t universally applicable. When it comes to advancements that save lives, I absolutely support rapid progress. They couldn’t possibly come out with cures for cancer fast enough.
But when it comes to our own personal goals and ambitions, sometimes the most satisfying results come from a slow but steady journey with unwavering commitment to what we believe is right.