Know Your Limits – AUDIO NSFW
I love reading. Reading opens up the mind to different worldviews, different perspectives, different experiences, and can help fill in the gaps in your own thinking. I was reading through one of my favorite books of all time, The Secrets of Consulting by Gerry Weinberg published in 1985 I believe originally. I have a personal copy. I have it signed by Gerry Weinberg because I had an opportunity to meet him and to go to some of his workshops and just speak with him, have lunch with him.
He was a personal connection to me through one of my other consulting peers, Don Gray. And so I wanna give props where props were due. I absolutely love this book. Now, there’s a particular chapter—there’s a particular section in this book around The Fourth Law of Consulting and The Law of Raspberry Jam in which spoke so heavily to me this morning and throughout the day that I just have to share it with you guys because it’s a personal struggle that I’m having and something that I’ve gone through multiple times and multiple projects and multiple careers.
FOURTH LAW OF CONSULTING
So let’s just read through what Gerry Weinberg says in The Secrets of Consulting around The Fourth Law of Consulting and The Laws of Raspberry Jam. So let’s jump right in here, The Law of Raspberry Jam stems from The Fourth Law of Consulting from Gerry Weinberg and The Fourth Law of Consulting is very simple: If they didn’t hire you, don’t solve their problem.
This is something. Let me repeat this a third time. The context is they’ve contracted you to do something to help them solve a problem. If they didn’t hire you, don’t solve their problem. Basically saying, don’t be giving out advice. Don’t be giving out free consulting when you’re not getting paid for it. And in many ways, we have to remember that consulting is the art of influencing people at their request.
Consultants is especially the most prevalent occupational disease is offering unsolicited help. It’s bad for everyone, bad for bankbook. It doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work and I know this to be true in my own life. For those who are close to me, you know that most of the time, the only thing that I want to talk about is self-programming and how to improve yourself, how do you improve your life, how to get to the next level.
You see? One of the problems with being my friend and being close to me is I’m always on, like, I’m that guy. I always default to if you give me any type of inroad then I want to default to, man, how can I help or how can I help encourage you to do that? And many of you guys know this to be true, but many people don’t actually want to improve. They just want to talk about it.
And that has been something that I have realized many, many, many, many, many, many, many times in my life when I realized that someone is telling me about something in their life and I go into my default mode of, “Hey, look. Let me see if I can help you improve and do this level up, get to the next level, make it happen.” And I realized very quickly that they don’t want any of my help. They don’t want my advice. They just wanna talk about it. They just want me to shut the fuck up and listen.
This is a disease that I have. A personal disease that I have is if you ever give me an inroad into your life of somewhere where I feel like it’s possible to improve it, I will default to saying or asking questions to you or challenging you to improve that thing. That’s a disease that I have.
In Gerry Weinberg in The Secrets to Consulting, in The Law of Raspberry Jam speaks to my heart so clearly and I wanna share that with you guys today. The Law of Raspberry Jam, this is from The Secrets of Consulting, Gerry Weinberg. He said, “I learned to pay attention to The Fourth Law of Consulting because as a kid, I had two clear goals.” Remember, The Fourth Law of Consulting is if they didn’t hire you don’t solve their problem. In my context that means,“Peter shut up. Stop trying to help everybody. Just shut up.”
Gerry Weinberg said this and this is so crucial, this speaks to my heart every time I read it. He says,“I wanted to help other people and I wanted to get rich doing it.” Gerry Weinberg says,“I wanted to help other people and I wanted to get rich doing it.” That’s me! That’s 100% me! I wanted to help people and you know what? I wanna be sufficiently paid. I want to be sufficiently rewarded for the efforts that I put into helping other people.
I think that’s a fair—an equitable and fair trade. Gerry Weinberg goes on and he says, “Throughout my life, I’ve struggled to achieve balance between these two contradictory goals.” Amen, amen, brother. Preach on.
One of my first Jobs was dishwashing—a good way to change a dirty world into a cleaner world. I’ve always enjoyed dishwashing jobs. Although the pay wasn’t outstanding, there was always a sense of accomplishment when in the end I would triumph over some sticky raspberry jam.
Not so unfortunately, in the other attempts to change the world as a consultant, trainer, lecturer, and author, there, The Law of Raspberry Jam had been my unrelenting nemesis. Washing dishes promotes a satisfying intimate relationship with the object of my work. Whatever my hands do is reflected immediately in a clean fork, a broken saucer, a sparkling goblet.
If my son discovers a peanut butter encrusted in the handle of a coffee mug, I take full blame. If my mother-in-law admires her face in a gleaming bottom of a frying pan, I take full credit. Although I suffer from the defeats I learned to achieve more victories and that’s the essence of job satisfaction as a dishwasher.
Now, as a ‘dishwashing’ consultant, I lose this immediate satisfaction. If my client is having problems with encrusted peanut butter, I can render advice or even demonstrate an improved technique of removing the peanut butter. But in spite of my best efforts, the peanut butter may remain encrusted because it’s up to my client to implement the ideas.
So guys you’re gonna see a pattern emerging here. As a dishwasher you can get immediate satisfaction of achieving results, as a dishwashing consultant you have to wait to see the results and hope that your client takes your advice and executes upon what you said.
Now, as compensation for losing the intimacy of dishwashing, a consultant gains the satisfaction of a much wider effect in the world’s gunk, grease, and grime. In time, it would take to wash a hundred mugs I can advise two other people on how to do the job in my absence. What I lose in quality, I gain in quantity. As a dishwashing trainer—okay, so there’s the dishwasher, a dishwashing consultant, now, we have a dishwashing trainer.
As a dishwashing trainer, I intensify the quality-quantity trade-off because training is merely cheaper form of consulting. I knew this because as a certified scrum trainer, I trained over 16,000 people guys. so I know what he’s talking about. It’s a cheaper form of consulting.
Instead of giving one client my undivided attention, I design a workshop that could handle 15 or 20. Each participant gets a little bit less but the cost goes down so the market for my message expands. Sure, a couple of people may miss some essential point, they may leave their dishes actually grungier than before, but isn’t it worth it to spread the word?
Now, as a dishwashing lecturer, right? So we have the dishwasher, a dishwasher consultant, a dishwasher trainer, now, we have a dishwashing lecturer. I can spread my consulting advice even further reaching several hundred avid clients at a time.
True, some of them may be sleeping with their eyes wide open. If you might even think I said rub peanut butter on the cups rather than off. But I shouldn’t think of a greater good for the greater number, right? But why stop there? Through the miracle of the printing press, I could reach hundreds of thousands of clients with my sterling voice.
If my book on dishwashing is a best-seller, I might even reach millions and earn millions. Yes, what about the money? At the going rate for dishwashers around here, it’s about $9,000 a year. In contrast to that, a consultant might make $30,000 a year; trainer $50,000; a lecturer $80,000; and an author better than me, $150,000. In each case, the wider at the audience, the more you can make. I absolutely understand this guys. As a trainer, consultant, 12 years as a published author, international speaker, guys, I get this. My message was all over the world.
THE LAW OF RASPBERRY JAM
Let’s get back to the reading here. The implications are obvious, nobody gets richer washing dishes, okay? Period. No one gets rich washing dishes. No matter how much you enjoy the immediate satisfaction of seeing someone eat off of your dish and say, “Wow, that’s super clean.” And although consultants may live well, they don’t retire early the way lectures and authors sometimes do.
So keep your hands out of the dishwasher and on the keyboard. You’re not only getting rich but you have vast influence on wealth, on health,and cleanliness of the nation. Or so it would seem, but that for the damnable Law of Raspberry Jam–we’re finally here guys, raspberry jam.
And what is this ironclad principle standing between me and the happy riches? Take a small jar of raspberry jam and a few loaves of bread. With a bit of experimentation, you’ll soon observe that, “the wider you spread it, the thinner it gets.” The wider you spread it, the thinner it gets.
That right there has been in so many parts of my career, multiple careers, multiple projects, multiple endeavours in my work life. This right here has been the tension that I have struggled with personally and professionally because my personality and the character of who I am demands that I help people, demands that I give, demands that I help improve things around me.
But yet, the wider I spread it, the thinner it got. When I was a traveling consultant traveling all over the world, traveling to cities a week, going to conferences, speaking lecture series, speaking at keynotes, doing book read tours. There’s videos of me doing book tours, guys. I have several videos of me on YouTube doing book reviews.
When I was an author, an international speaker, an international consultant, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people heard what I had to say about how to make software better, how to improve software, and how to build software faster. But did I really help? The thinner my message got, moving into this project of cryptocurrency allowed me to go deeper with community, the place where I really enjoyed.
The problem is is that I invest so much time in a very small, niche community that it’s really thick. But then the wider audience, the global opportunity gets constrained, right? So this is the tension that I wrestle with. The tension that I wrestle with guys, is The Law of Raspberry Jam. The wider I spread myself, the thinner it gets the value of the message.
What I love about this channel as it stands right now is it’s small. I have a very small following. You guys care. You guys love listening to this stuff. You might say, well Peter, the world needs to hear this. I don’t know if the world does hear it. Will they have the context that many of you guys have listening to me? Many of you guys who tune in to this show, turn into this podcast, turn into my videos, you know who I am personally.
And so you know where this comes from, from a contextual standpoint, from a relationship standpoint but the world won’t know that. They’ll only see what they see with zero history, zero experience, zero context to who I am.
Alas! For those of us who would wanna change the world and get rich doing it, The Law of Raspberry Jam is a true law of nature. As solid as the first law of thermodynamics. You would just as easily build a perpetual motion machine as you can make the jam both a thicker and wider at the same time.
INFLUENCE OF AFFLUENCE
Another way of expressing this law is this. Influence or affluence—take your choice. Every would-be helper must bow before The Law of Raspberry Jam and that’s where I am reminded again today that I must bow before The Law of Raspberry Jam.
Shout through a megaphone or talk into a microphone, train a disciple or create a church, teach a class or build a university. None of these methods will thicken the message by so much as a single cubit.
Guys, if you are out there and you are naturally inclined to help people, then you will invariably buck up against The Law of Raspberry Jam which merely asks you the question. Do you want to go deep and be impactful and in many ways be relatively poor but have a fulfilling life and receive immediate gratification for the results of your work?
Or would you like to be affluent and rich but have your message of giving be thinned to a point where people misconstrue your message? They lack context. They believe that you’re somewhere else, going somewhere else. They believe that your message is wrong. They believe that you’re coming from the wrong place. There’s so many assertions and assumptions, and perceptions, and all these different ideas that they put into you because your message is now broad. It is thin. It is no longer thick.
In many ways, the message has been thinned so much that the value of the message has been bled out. And so that’s what I struggle with, my friends. The wider you spread The Law of Raspberry Jam, the wider you spread it, the thinner it gets. Another way of putting this guys is The Law of Raspberry Jam: Influence or Affluence.
I think you guys know where I stand in my life today. I think you guys know what matters to me and I’m sure many of you listening here know which one I would choose. Influence or affluence?
I’d rather be part of your story. I’d rather be a part of your story and where you’re saying, “You know what? Back in the day, there was this Korean guy named Peter. He had said a couple of things that helped me in this way and that made a difference.” For me? That’s where I wanna be.
Let me know in the comments section below, guys. Let me know in the comment section below. Influence our affluence? Is The Law of Raspberry Jam too strong? Is it impossible to overcome? I can think of different ways, but I think it’s still worth wrestling with especially if you have the heart of giving. If you liked this guys, smash the like button and share with at least one person today and I’ll see you tomorrow. Subscribe too. Peace.