When I got my first big break in my working life, it was for a giant corporation with a robust training regime. If you’ve never had the miss fortune of having to jump through these hoops, consider yourself lucky. Whilst they are mainly built sincerely, and at least instil in your staff base the same basic level of competency, they often suck.

Sales training was the worst. Someone, I presume years ago, had read far too many psychology books and put together a plan you could not deviate from. They handed out a massive dossier to learn that boiled down to “if the customer says X, you say Y” in as many situations they could come up with. So, I learnt it, went on my way and tried as hard as I could to regurgitate the manual as frequently as I could.

I had no choice in this, secret shoppers were another dirty trick of this company, so you felt like a robot at all times. Let me tell you, I sucked. I sold next to nothing and struggled so much I felt like quitting. Until one day I was so fed up with feeling like this I decided I was going to leave, so I talked to every customer ‘normally’ and my sales took off.

Don’t get me wrong, after months of spouting the lines some of them still come out, but they felt more natural because I was taking to people as myself, not just going through the company motions. People stopped looking at me like I was trying to sell them something, and they bought something from me instead.

I realised at that point that my problem was that I was not being true to myself. I didn’t believe in what the company was telling me to say, and that is straightforward to spot from the outside. You can’t fake it until you make it if you’re not even sure you want to — and this applies to so much else.

As I wrote about a few days ago, I didn’t really want to make technology videos, I went through the motions and made some because I thought that's what I was supposed to do. They sucked. I expanded from writing and talking about technology into another field that I have seen others do without actually wanting to. I went through the motions without thinking about what I was doing, as if I were following instruction on “how to build a brand”.

How many other things in life do we go through the motions without our heart being in it. The results of which will be nowhere near those that result from proper motivation. These sorts of ill-fitting ideas are preached in far too many mediums to those looking to get rich or build something. I have lost count of the times I have seen headlines similar to “Follow these easy steps, and you too can be as rich as me” or “check out the morning routine of this billionaire”.

The idea being that massive results are as easy as going through these steps. There are sometimes you have to buckle down and go through the motions, but very few where you should expect a net positive result.