Sometimes you get a jolt of inspiration about your business, and set off into action, only to realize the inspiration has faded and you're a bit confused what to do next. Other times you may spend so much time weighing your options that time passes you by. I think it's best to take what I call "The Circular Path to Clarity".
As a kid, it drove me nuts watching Dorothy start her journey on the yellow brick road. Why walk around in those tiny circles? The road obviously goes that way! Just go that way!!! Well, sometimes you think you know which direction your new flash of inspiration is going to lead you, and so you set off in that direction…directly.
You end up getting several steps ahead of yourself, not realizing you’re simply making things up in your head, instead of actually sticking to that flash. But you release this new offering and you get… crickets. Nobody wants it. You took too much action on your own too quickly. And you were too fast to release something you weren’t even sure anyone wanted.
Now on the other side of the coin, maybe you’re a perfectionist. By the time you’re ready to show anyone your brilliant idea, twelve other entrepreneurs already cornered the market. In this scenario, you didn’t shoot off in the wrong direction too quickly, you got stuck in one spot too long.
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So how do we take the circular path?
And why is it a path to clarity, rather than a path to success?
The circular path requires you take some amount of action on your inspiration, but to occasionally pause and check in with your surroundings. Maybe you need feedback from your audience to figure out what features of your offering are important to them for a first release, and which can wait until later. Maybe you need to check and see if other people or resources you may need to bring your idea to fruition are actually available.
Each time you pause and check in with those around you, you gain much needed clarity regarding your direction on the path. You get clear about what people really care about. You get clear about what’s possible to do now, and what you can add later. You get clear about what to charge, or how much time and money you can invest and still make a profit. Or you may get clarity that you need assistance to make this vision a reality.
The lesson here is to check in with your surroundings, and other people. Clarity comes from taking action for a little while, then pausing to examine how far along that action has taken you.
Too much action without reflection can throw you far off course. And too much action on one thing is really the same as overall inaction. It’s busy work, and you’ll only end up sitting still.