‘I Don’t Know What I’m Doing’
Now you’ve said that out loud/read that don’t you feel much better? It’s actually OK to admit that sometimes you have no clue what you are doing. Can you now turn to the person sitting next to you and say it out loud? That would be uncomfortable wouldn’t it? But you just said it to yourself (in a moment of forced honesty) and it felt like a weight off your shoulders? So why wouldn’t you be willing to share?
I didn’t really expect you to turn to the person next to you. What I did hope was that you’d ask yourself whether you have someone that, as you build your business/live your life, you can turn to and be very honest with regarding what is really going on. The tendency when we’re asked ‘how are things going?‘ is for us to say something that is positive when, oftentimes, we’re not feeling that positive.
But as with most things, the feeling of cluelessness does not last and can be worked through. The first step to relieving yourself of the charade of ‘invincibility’ (and the eventual pain that comes with that) is to admit that you are not a fraud for sometimes not having a clear idea of what the next step is. It happens to everyone.
The next step is to find a group made up of 1 person in a similar point in the business lifecycle (customer development, pre-MVP, MVP, funded), 1 person who is just beyond where you are in your company’s lifecycle (e.g. cash flow positive, funded) and a mentor/advisor you meet with once in a while. This mentor/advisor should have no stake in your business but should have a stake in you on a personal level. Bonus points if the person has built a business before.
One thing that is required in all these people you engage with is that you have a shared value system. A shared value system provides context in those conversations. The conversations should not be a pity party or an echo chamber of woe. The conversations should be them helping you walk through the issue and thinking through possible actions/next steps you can take. It should also be about you reciprocating and helping them walk through their issues. Because building a business/living your life is about the little steps we take that, in aggregate, create a ‘successful’ outcome. Ps: Success here is as you define it. If you do not have someone (or two) people you can be open and honest with you are setting yourself up for immense stress and sadness (in business and in life). Frankly you are not that ‘close’ to most of the people that you call mentors or advisors or friends if you do not have one that you can say ‘I do not know what I’m doing’ to.
One of my favorite people in the community tells me that ‘Most of the time nothing fresh/new/good comes out of having a monologue in your head about the state of your business/life no matter how positive you are as a person’ I believe her. So get someone you can HONESTLY talk to and avoid the cluelessness that comes with dealing with things by yourself all the time.
Share your thoughts below!
Ps: I wrote a short novel (six intertwined stories) on immigrants in Chicago. Folk have been saying it’s a pretty good one too Please support and buy for Kindle here (Amazon) and for every other eBook format here (Smashwords). Or like the page on FB. Thanks!