New Idea? Listen, Process, Pivot

As a small business owner, getting sucked into a vortex of confusion is par for the course.

Starting your own business is easy. Figuring out what you’re doing while carrying the weight of not only your own hopes and dreams but also those of your clients, employees, and family is another thing completely.

One of my frustrations is that we forget that being a small business owner takes a massive toll on you as a person and your own mental fitness.

Someone once told me that one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is that they say yes to things they should be saying no to.

This had a huge impact on me, as I most definitely fell into that trap, where I was willing to take on any project because I needed the money, rather than being a little more focused and careful with where I was spending my time and energy.

Nobody really talks about the vortex of confusion you find yourself in when you are seeing opportunities and potential linkages, but you don’t quite know whether you should pursue it or if you will be wasting your time and energy, which is, after all, limited.

Often when you wrestle with yourself about the yes or no in a particular situation or opportunity, that vortex of confusion can seem overwhelming.

In these moments, I’ve learned to break it down into simple steps.

I’ve learned that even if I don’t know what I want, I sometimes have ideas of what I DON’T want. For me, this has become like creating a carving, where you start taking away the bits that you don’t want until you get a clearer picture of what you do want.

Inevitably, you will be discussing your situation, thoughts, and ideas with others, not only people of your tribe but also potential clients and supporters. I’ve found this an invaluable exercise to help me find my next steps, and this is how I get there.

  1. Listen

When talking to people about your thoughts and potential ideas, start by talking less and listening more. Listen not only to what the person is saying but also to what might be left unsaid or presumed. Listen with an open heart and without judgment to what the person is saying so you can understand, rather than listen to respond. Very often, people will say something off the cuff that kicks my thoughts into another path completely.

  1. Process

Take the time to process what you’ve learned. Look for what exactly their pains are and think about the tools you have to help solve their problem. After all, whatever you’re selling or doing will need to solve someone’s problem; that’s why they buy it.

During this processing phase, I take the time to ask myself some hard questions:
  • If I follow through with this idea, what will it cost me? Think about both financial and emotional costs.
  • If I say YES to this, what am I saying NO to?
  • If I say NO, what am I saying YES to?
  • What does this idea make me feel?
  1. Pivot

When you’ve done your research, you’re happy about the personal costs and benefits, and you feel energetic and excited (even nervous) about the idea, Pivot! Plan the smallest possible steps that will help you step towards making this new idea a reality.

This process is uncomfortable, confusing, frustrating, exhilarating, exciting and a whole host of other emotions that can really mess with your head. It takes time, but you give yourself that time to work through it.

The trick is to see it as the awesome gift that it is, where you get the opportunity to reinvent yourself, your ideas, and take active steps to making your own future better.

Stuck with the next steps? Set up a free Discovery session