A few years ago I decided to revamp my website.
I approached my friend, who helped launch a technology school, and asked for help.
They took a look around, popped the hood, and gave me an honest assessment of my website.
“This is beyond repair. You should declare technical bankruptcy and start over.”
This is exactly what I did NOT want to hear.
“Okay fine. Can I pay you to fix it for me so I can move on with my life?” I asked, hopefully.
“Nope.” They said.
“Are you serious? Why not?!” I asked, half angry, half disappointed.
“Because that would make you dumber.” They replied, calmly.
“Go on….” I said, intrigued.
“If I simply ‘do it for you,’ you will never understand how your own website works. You will always be dependent on someone else.”
They were right, and I knew it.
Over the next few months they guided, coached, and empowered me to build my own website, from the ground up. It was painstaking, time consuming, and involved a healthy dose of cursing at my computer. However, at the end of the day when I finally published my website, I knew it had all been worthwhile.
Now, I do not simply have a functioning website. I also have written SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) with detailed step-by-step instructions for how to back up my website, restore my website, and even build it again from scratch if I need to. More importantly, I have the independence and freedom to make any change, at any time, for any reason.
I cannot emphasize enough how valuable this is. Throwing money at the problem and fixing it in the moment would certainly have been a lot easier, but ultimately I would have been worse off in the end.
Although I didn’t appreciate it initially, I am now eternally grateful for my friend’s help in allowing me to solve my own problem.
The funny part is, this is exactly the same philosophy that I built my business on.
When you tell me your problem, I will not simply hand over a spreadsheet that solves it for you. (Unless of course you are part of an organization that is ready to fork over thousands of dollars. Then, by all means we should have your people call my people.)
Instead, I will teach you how and why spreadsheets work the way they do, and guide you into developing your own custom solution.
Because everything is always evolving. You will always need to be able to make changes and adapt to new situations in the future.
If I simply give you a spreadsheet, and you don’t fully understand how and why it’s working, you will not be able to make the necessary changes yourself. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before you find yourself with an obsolete tool.
However, once you understand how and why things work the way they do, you can create and adapt your own spreadsheets to work in your own unique circumstances.
Parting Words of Wisdom
You may have heard the saying “If I give you a fish, you will eat for a day, but if I teach you how to fish, you will eat for a lifetime.”
Well, here’s my take on it…
Back to you…
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you didn’t fully understand how and why something worked, only to spend more time, energy, and money cleaning up the mess? Given what you know now, how would you handle it differently? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
If you’d like some help on how to create a solid foundation of understanding to be able to solve your own spreadsheet challenges, I may know a guy who knows a guy :). Simply fill out this contact form and I’ll get back to you!
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