Ten Thousand Hours and a Bit More

Charlene Norman
4 min readJun 5, 2023

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Last Saturday, I walked to the funeral home to settle my brother’s affairs. I ended up speaking to one of the senior funeral directors for a spell.

During our convo, she said, “I’ve been in this business 25 years, and I still, to this day, hate telling people they need to plan a good send-off because it sounds like I am trying to make a sale. I’m not. I am not on commission, so I don’t care what anyone orders in the way of (insert your choice). I care about sharing their options with them and helping them make the right decision for them.”

Gentle reader, I wish I could tell you the number of people I have crossed paths with who subscribe to this very way of conducting business.

I call it the 10,000-hour rule

I know you have heard of the 10,000-hour rule. It’s the one where you need to practice for a minimum of 10,000 hours BEFORE you are comfortable enough in your own skin to no longer question yourself and your actions.

For most of us, 10,000 hours is five to six years of 40-hour weeks doing the same thing repeatedly. When we have a solid five years of experience under our belt, we have so much confidence, don’t we?

Five years of selling means on the way to rockstar. Six years of managing means on the track to leading. Five years of gardening means a master gardener might very well be in sight. Five years of bookkeeping could lead to better and better things. Six years of playing funeral director mean you’ve seen much pain. Even five years of staying in business mean you got the resilience necessary to keep on going.

What is NEVER EVER talked about

With the 10,000 hours concept is that there is ALWAYS a guide, a mentor, a champ, a manager, a leader, a teacher gently guiding and prodding us during the period. It is not just our six years of diligence practicing but also six years of help along the way.

And what is also NEVER EVER discussed is that the 10,000 hours are not portable. For every new thing that we want to dive into, there is always another 10,000 hours we need to put in.

I see all around me brilliant employees deciding to venture out into their own businesses. I see brilliant businesses decide to venture into new product lines and even acquisitions. I see brilliant business owners making decisions because they fear being left behind or eating someone else’s dust.

I also see failed business owners trying again — in the same ways they did the last time. I also see sputtering business owners continue to sputter determinedly in the face of pale, lacklustre results. I applaud all these courageous moves.

And want to shout from the rooftops,

‘Jeepers Peepers, why can’t you see that a quick call with me will shave buckets of stress from your shoulders and help inform you of not only all the problems you are encountering but, more importantly, the many alternative options you do have?’

Because I don’t care what anyone wants for their business. What I care about the most is matching their strengths to their available options with them and helping them make the right decision for them.

But that would be viewed as another hard-core selling tactic and clearly just for MY benefit, right?

So, if you don’t mind, let me give you the real skinny.

I am just like everyone else.

When I let my EGO rule my actions, NOTHING goes right. That is the real reason I have lost what is probably close to half a million dollars of my own money. I didn’t have the right 10,000 hours every single time.

I like to brag that I know how to make millionaires. That’s because I spent more than 25 YEARS (or close to 65,000 hours) helping others make themselves and their organizations very solid so they could pull out way more money than they ever dreamed. When I am helping others, I NEVER use my EGO.

Let me leave you with a different idea this week.

LOSE your ego and acknowledge that if you don’t have 10,000 hours invested in the thing you are contemplating, there is definitely good and kind help available. And the ROI of investing in that help will ASSUREDLY surpass your wildest expectations wherever you decide to get it.

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Charlene Norman

Inspiring good humans to make a difference for all on Planet Earth. Podcast host, author, and community leader. Fanatical about change for the highest good.