I used to paint by numbers.
And I don’t mean that I put brush to canvas.
I mean that when I wanted to create a change in my life (e.g., get more clients, make more money, become a more masterful coach, get in shape, etc…), I’d seek out someone’s else’s blueprint.
I’d look for someone whom I assumed knew something I didn’t.
I’d look for the person who had the research, who had the results I wanted, who I believed to be successful and I would read their book, do their program, or hire them to teach me their system…
I figured that if I could just get my hands on their blueprint, the secret formula, the ultimate technique… then surely I would enjoy the same results they appeared to have, right?
After all, clearly these people were experts. Why not just follow their proven recipe? Just makes so much sense…
So this is what I did.
And it worked. For a while.
Yet, it’s important to understand why the painting by numbers approach worked… and why it ultimately fails, too.
The degree to which any system provides the results you desire is NOT due to the system, but rather to the degree of your ALIGNMENT with the system.
Send two people to the same workout class, one person loves being there, one dreads every minute but does it anyway, and you can make a solid bet who’s going to see the results and who’s going to be frustrated.
The paint by numbers approach is super-common in the marketing world, too. And I learned this the hard way.
It goes like this…. The expert marketer has a secret formula for opt-ins or clients or big dollars or whatever. The formula genuinely works for the expert and the thinking goes, the formula will work for you if you just replicate the steps. So when my book launched, I invested in a secret formula designed to get all the big names in my industry to support me and create some sort of tidal wave of publicity that would make me rich, famous, and fabulous.
I followed the recipe perfectly, sending out 40 packages and letters to all the right people inviting them to help me and be part of this great deal I had for them. According to the secret formula, it did not matter that I did not know these people, the only thing that mattered is if I used the right magic words in the cover letter. (I didn’t even have to write these people myself, I just had to fill in the blanks of this “killer copy” letter I’d bought). Just paint by numbers! What could be easier?
Because I did everything “right” (like good students always do), I assumed to hear from these people who would be thrilled to help me and be part of my book launch.
As you likely guessed, I heard back from no one.
Not a peep.
And while I felt too embarrassed to own my creation at the time, I knew I wasn’t aligned with the approach I’d taken. It was not my style at all, but I figured that if the magic formula worked so well for so many others, surely it would work for me.
After licking my wounds, the cool thing to come out of the experience was my “doneness” with painting by numbers.
I don’t want to create lesser imitations.
I want to create my own fabulous originals.
Most important, I don’t want to follow someone else’s alignment.
I want to pay attention to my own sense of alignment and follow that.
I’ll find my own ways of sharing my ideas.
I’ll create my own way of eating that feels good to me.
I’ll create my own workout routines doing things that are fun for me.
I’ll create my coaching practice in ways that please me.
There is no one size that fits all. There are no magic formulas. There is no “right way” to get what you desire.
Painting by numbers can feel better than not painting at all, of course.
But when it starts to feel the slightest bit off/limiting/constricting, don’t be afraid to leave someone’s else’s path and blaze your own way.