How to gain clarity to find the best roadmap for your business

How to gain clarity to find the best roadmap for your business

How can you tell which things you should focus your limited time, money, and energy on to get the best results in your business?

With so many things pulling at your attention, it can be challenging as a business owner to know what should get your attention now and what can wait.

It’s easy to end up operating in a reactionary mode that stretches you thin The fog of working in your business day to day clouds the path ahead.

So, how do you clear the fog and gain clarity about the best roadmap for your business?

When I was five years old, I went on a hike with my grandpa that led to a large, white letter Y painted on the side of the mountain (a reference to the name of a local school).

What should have been a two-hour round-trip hike turned into a four-hour trek in the hot sun?

We’d been so focused on the ground in front of us that we strayed from the main path.

For a couple of hours, we traversed ravines, followed deer paths, and hoped we were headed in the right direction.

After a good deal of wandering, we finally emerged into a clearing strewn with white painted rocks. We had finally arrived.

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Wherever you're in your career and business, I invite you to remember Steve Jobs' quote. Remember, you are in the process of discovering the dots as you go.

Steve Jobs said this made all the difference to his success

In life and business, we often want to control things. We want to be sure about which path to take and where it will lead. We want to see the dots and know how to connect them.

As a college student, I studied engineering. I loved learning a formula, solving for the variables, and getting a correct answer.

As an entrepreneur, I’ve had to (and continue to) unlearn that approach. There are too many variables, most of them out of control. Scary, I know. It makes it impossible to look ahead and find the “right” solution.

Take a look at this great quote from Steve Jobs’ famous commencement speech from 2005.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Back in 2003, I quit my one-and-only post-college employment after only three years as an engineer. I jumped into real estate investing because I’d read Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

I didn’t know it yet, but this was the first “dot” of many that I would manage to connect in the coming years.

Participating in the real estate investing community led me to consult real estate investors about marketing. (I’d gained marketing chops—as well as would-be mutton chops—over several years of promoting my band, Desmo.)

Eventually, consulting lead to the idea to run a one-day seminar about marketing for real estate investors. I booked a room at the local community college and filled it with 25 people grossing $8000.

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The advice to follow your passion typically promotes a sense that things will be easier. However, it isn’t the most reliable compass to guide you toward a successful business strategy.

Why “follow your passion” is bad advice

“Follow your passion!”

Research shows this well-meaning advice can set you up to fail in two ways.

Firstly, the advice to follow your passion typically promotes a sense that things will be easier if you do so, increasing the likelihood of giving up when things are more challenging than expected.

Secondly, following this advice makes us less likely to notice and pursue ideas and opportunities outside of a narrow focus. As a thought leader, your work depends on generating new ideas. You are most likely to find the innovations that will elevate your work by looking in non-obvious places outside of your passions.

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They’ve kept me from putting myself out there more times than I’d like to admit. I’m willing to bet it’s the same for you. We can’t let this happen.

The ego trap that can sink your business

“What if I publish content and only hear crickets?”

“What if nobody comments on my post?”

“What if nobody listens to my podcast?”

Have any of these questions ever held you back?

They’ve kept me from putting myself out there more times than I’d like to admit.

I’m willing to bet it’s the same for you.

We can’t let this happen. The world needs your ideas.

That’s why I was thrilled recently to see that a former client and friend, Stu Swineford, had launched his podcast. But he almost didn’t and had already put it off for a while.

Then he had a shift in perspective that changed everything.

When he shared it with me in an email, I knew I had to share it with you.

Here’s what he had to say.

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The truth is, there’s plenty of room for your voice in the world. And your personal brand needs three things to lift you above the noise.

These 3 Things Will Lift You Above the Noise

“How can I possibly stand out from all the other people saying and offering the same things I am?”

It’s a question worth asking given all the noise on the Internet. Just this morning, I was on the phone with a client who was concerned about starting a podcast when it seems like there are so many people with podcasts already.

The truth is, there’s plenty of room for your voice in the world. In fact, it’s desperately needed. The key is to develop a distinct voice that stands out and draws your ideal audience in.

To stand out in the marketplace, your personal brand needs three things.

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