Sometimes the unconventional path is the one you have to take to get to the end result you want. If you think of success as a destination, there are many paths to get there. If you don’t have a precise destination in mind, any path will get you there. For example, you don’t get in your car just to “drive around”. You get in it to go somewhere.
When you’re working on something that is outside of your expertise, it can be a helpless feeling. (If you’re new to PRO, you probably know this feeling.) What should I be doing, and in what order? What do I focus on? Entrepreneurs face this all the time. It never goes away. The skill that you’re going to learn is how to navigate through those times. It’s like an airplane going to its destination that runs into rough weather, and must react and adapt on the fly to make it. It’s those little moments that separate the professionals from the amateurs.
When you are faced with a daunting decision or challenge that’s way outside your comfort zone, how do you respond? Learning how to make the right decisions in these situations is a critical skill as an entrepreneur. As you deal with these situations more and more, you become better at them. Because of that, they start to happen less. That’s how you become more efficient over time at doing work that pays, rather than getting caught in crisis mode all the time.
I had one of these moments yesterday. At first, it had me in a tailspin. I felt like there were a hundred different things that I needed to do. It lasted a few moments, and it felt like a freefall. But in that moment it hit me: I made a decision to have a quick little workout to clear my mind. It’s something I know about myself that helps me take control of situations like that. When I find myself in a moment like this, the best thing to do is to clear your mind. For me, that means a quick walk or bike ride. Maybe a 10 minute workout like yesterday. It’s so simple – just step away. (Ideally, this will involve some physical exercise, as it releases dopamine – a natural antidepressant.)
That’s what happened yesterday. Today I looked in the mirror and said, “I’m going to give myself an unfair advantage.” I’m going to do the same thing and clear my head again. I didn’t feel like I “needed it” today, because I wasn’t facing one of those freefall situations. But I did it anyway. I went for a quick jog with Victor around my block. And on this jog, the same thing happened as yesterday – all of a sudden my day fell into place again. I saw my day line up in order and got total clarity on what to do in what order. It wasn’t that I had a lack of clarity before I did this, but it wasn’t on the same level that it ended up being after the jog.
Sometimes we make things way more complicated than they really are. We stop trusting ourselves to make the right decisions. We can fix this easily and take just 10 or 15 minutes to clear our minds. These things may not be exciting – heck, I don’t usually feel like doing these things before I do them. But I know they’re good for my clarity and to work more efficiently. And I didn’t get here in 8 years as an entrepreneur by allowing my feelings to dictate what I do or don’t do.
We’re almost to the halfway mark of 2012. Check in with yourself: how’s this year going? Where are you at? For me, in the last six months of 2004, it was an absolute breakout period. If you haven’t had a breakout period this year, understand this – you’re way closer to it than you think. The moments of clarity we give ourselves make breakouts possible. It’s often the crises that make us take those moments, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We can make the choice to give ourselves those moments even when we don’t “need” them to solve some critical situation.
Whatever the biggest problems you are facing right now, understand that the solutions are right there in front of you. Take a moment and stop trying to figure everything out yourself. The answers are waiting to be discovered. And the solution almost never looks like it’s the solution at first. Hang in there, and it will eventually reveal itself to you.