Beware of Gurus Bearing Gifts

experts_thumb“Sir, you look even more lost in thought than usual,” I ventured, starting off the weekly conversation between myself and The Effective Detective.

The Detective turned to me slowly, and glared balefully at me before replying, “Watson, have I told you recently that your powers of sarcasm seem to be increasing weekly?”

“Perhaps, sir,” I answered.

“No matter Watson, you are correct, I am thinking about a situation recently, and I am still amazed that I needed to catch myself to avoid making an investment that would not have paid off for me,” the Detective recovered.


“On a recent webinar on list building, Watson. I was so engaged by the gentleman’s content, I found myself totally prepared to invest in his program,” The Detective paused, always a signal to me to jump in with some witticism or sarcastic remark.

“There is a problem with investing in a program that you find well presented sir?”

“No Watson, there is a problem with investing in a program that while well presented is absolutely useless to our efforts at this point in time. This program, no matter how good, does not fit our current marketing efforts, and would most likely ended up as shelfware, or Google Drive ware, for all the use we would have gotten out of it. We business people love our gurus Watson. We slavishly follow them, hanging on their every word and investing in their programs as long as the budget allows. The problem is, we do not think about how this or any other program offered may fit into our strategic plan. We simply know this person is smart and successful, the very image of a ‘guru’ so to speak, and because of our ‘knowledge’ of this, we are blindly willing to follow.”

“What can be done for this – what sounds like a universal – affliction sir?” I asked, now genuinely curious.

“The answer is simple Watson, simply keep your head on. Remember what your strategy is, and evaluate every tool against your goals, and the path you have chosen to follow to reach said goals. It is easy, whilst we are in the early stages of our business or new business area, to become frustrated and begin flailing around looking for that silver bullet…”

“The silver bullet does seem to be a recurring theme, sir,” I interjected.

“Indeed, Watson. Only because it is so prevalent in so many business people’s minds. We dearly desire to be told the path to success, unfortunately, there are as many paths as there are business people following them. There truly is no right or wrong way to success, there is only your own way. The trick is to find coaches and aides that come close to your way as possible, because they can help you avoid at least some of the pitfalls that lay along your path.” The Detective finished, and looked satisfied that we had taken this subject to its logical conclusion.

“So we are free to discuss another subject sir?” I inquired carefully.

“Indeed, Watson, but we shall save that for another week,” The Detective answered, and turned back to his computer.


It isn’t all about you – but maybe some of it should be

Image courtesy of Ambro /

Image courtesy of Ambro / 

As I sat reviewing The Effective Detective’s outline for a presentation he was preparing, I admit that I felt some confusion. Rather than let it fester in my mind and cause me stress, I decided to broach the subject directly.

“Sir, there is a part of this presentation that I fear seems out-of-place with the general philosophy you have been enunciating practically since I met you,” I began hoping that my tone would not irritate The Detective.

“Very good Watson! I expect that what is causing you distress is the apparent conflict between presenting your business as a solution to your prospects needs rather than your own, and the initial part of my presentation that urges the participant to visualize what is best for them,” The Detective replied evenly, without a hint of irritation.

I had to admit that I had not expected him to make the connection without some additional prompting by me, but since he seemed to be open to discussion, I decided to press my luck.

“Exactly sir! Shouldn’t the major concern of any business be how their product/service even marketing content provide value to their prospects and buyers?”

“Right you are Watson, but the key phrase there is ‘the concern of the business’. Political campaign finance arguments aside, would you agree that a business is not a person?” The Detective pressed me back.

“Of course, sir.”

“However, you most likely would not argue that the composition of a business is at least part one or more persons?” The Detective waited for my answer with that slight smile that indicated he had sprung his trap, and the conversation was about to be completely under his control.

“No, I would not argue that point, sir.”

“Excellent Watson! Let us focus our discussion on the smaller types of businesses, privately owned, or even run by a sole proprietor. My point in the presentation is that, to put it in a way that is perhaps a tad maudlin, if there is no joy in the operation of the business or the delivery of the product or service, it may, in fact almost certainly will, negatively affect the business,” The Detective paused and lifted an eyebrow, signalling t me that he might be interested in hearing my thought or thoughts on the subject. I obliged him.

“So the mental well-being of said owner is critical to business success.” I said, attempting to summarize in a single short sentence what I had just heard.

“Short, succinct, and dead-on, Watson!” The Detective exclaimed happily. “The old expression ‘Money can’t buy happiness” is a bit off target. After all, having money can relieve a large number of the stresses that exist in our payment oriented society. However, if one finds the process of making that money distasteful or unfulfilling, it will generate a stress that will most certainly build over time, and is inescapable.

“Now mind you Watson, this does not necessarily mean you can blithely ‘follow your dreams’, or ‘do what you truly love’ and expect the money to flow. I would submit to you however, that if you cannot come up with a variation of ‘your love’ that brings you joy and is marketable, you must either expand your heart, your imagination, or perhaps both!

“Now then, time grows short and there are other aspects of the presentation I wish to hear your views on. Pray continue your perusal,” The Detective concluded, and we went back to work.

Do what you love or love what you do?


Image courtesy of Somchai Som / 

“Tell me sir, are you truly doing what you love to do?” I started my conversation with The Effective Detective today.

The Detective paused before answering, then replied, “Watson, I must say you have developed a knack for starting out with extremely probing questions these days.”

“Thank you sir. Are you avoiding the question?” I said, pressing what I thought might be an advantage.

“Not at all, Watson, are you so paranoid these days that you cannot even accept a compliment?” The Detective asked in reply.

It was my turn to feel caught off-guard. “No sir, I just… well…”

“Ah, I seem to have rendered you speechless, Watson. While you struggle to regain your verbal skills, let me answer your question,” The Detective interjected,  with a smile that implied he had at least obtained a draw in our perpetual battle of wits, if not an outright win.

“The direct answer is no, but that answer needs a qualifier, so shall we say no, not quite,” The Detective continued.

“What I would truly love to do is continually lecture on a common problem: the inability of some business people to understand the data in front of them, not just sales and marketing data, but the personnel data they have as well. How the processes they use to manage their businesses, and  market and support their customers are not based in the reality of the data. None of which is really their fault, they are simply doing what has been done in the past, following the conventional wisdom as it were.

“However there are some difficulties in that, the first and foremost being that few want some smart aleck, even if he is a rather convincing detective, telling them something they don’t want to hear. Often, people don’t want to hear what they need to hear, they want to hear what to do next. So I needed to ah, revisit my ambitions and readjust my own attitudes to provide what people want, not what I think they needed,” The Detective paused, waiting for me to respond.

“In what ways did you readjust sir?” I asked, giving The Detective an opening to explain what frankly I found a tad confusing.

“Elementary, my dear Watson, I isolated the basic thing that gives me joy – solving a problem using a combination of analytical and creative techniques, and focused in on what I could see was a problem that lots of smaller businesses face and can recognize: the issue of taking massive amounts of data that pour into their businesses and their lives each day, sorting out the noise from the signal, and taking the appropriate action to bring in the lifeblood of all businesses – leads.”

“Poetic, sir,” I responded sincerely.

“Quite, Watson. I love what I do, I love the challenge, I love the mental exercise. It may not exactly be doing what I love, but it is certainly a variation on that, and it is something that the people I work with can understand and apply in their businesses,” again The Detective paused.

“It is doing art, as one of your favorite writers says, but how is that different from doing what you love?” I asked, still confused as to the difference.

“Ah, Watson, you’ve hit the heart of it, you see. Unless doing what you love actually answers the needs and wants of others, it will only answer your wants. But loving what you do, even if it is some hybrid of your true love, can answer the needs of those around you and not only feed your ego, but your pocketbook as well. After all, you aren’t of much use if you are homeless and starving,” The Detective concluded. His point made, we moved on to our next item of business.

The most valuable gifts


when a passion becomes a chore