Learn. What could be more natural you ask?
It was drummed into your head from the day your started kindergarten; the best companies make continuous learning a priority; and it has been a centerpiece of this blog since day one.
In fact, if you had to boil down what we have been talking about in this space to a single phrase it would be “learning to manage uncertainty.”
The subject we are constantly dealing with is how do you navigate your way toward creating the future you want when:
- Things are changing radically;
- You aren’t sure where you should be going and
- You don’t even have a map.
In this kind of situation, it helps to have a role model. And as we have talked about throughout, we have one. The people who are best at dealing with uncertainty are serial entrepreneurs, those who have created two or more successful companies. There is nothing more uncertain than starting abusiness and these people are masters at it.
What do they do? To reduce it to a single formula they:
- Determine their desire, i.e. they begin by figuring out what really gets them excited about working.
- Take a small step toward finding or creating something that will allow them to capitalize on that desire.
- Learn from taking that small step.
- Build off that learning and take another step. Then they
- Learn from that one…and so on.
It’s an approach we call: Act. Learn. Build. Repeat.
And you see that learning is central to it. You take a small step toward your goal. And then you pause to see what you have learned from taking that step. It just makes sense, right?
Yes. But nevertheless, people find it difficult for a variety of reasons ranging from ego–we are the experts; who knows more about our business than us, so what is there to learn–to we think we have more pressing concerns (an unhappy client is yelling; the quarterly numbers are falling short of projections) to we are simply too tired to put one more thing on our to do lists.
When you put the excuses for not learning down in black and white they just look silly. But you need to guard against each and every one one of them because as wonderful as you think your idea is, it is only the marketplace that will ultimately decide whether you are on to something.
Okay, you say. I’ll do it. I will make sure I am always learning.
We have no reason to doubt you. But to make sure you do, commit to learning one new thing each day about your product, market, customers and potential customers.
Having that hard number in mind will force you to pay attention all the time.
Some people try to learn one new word a day.
This will help you more.
Paul B. Brown is the author of Own Your Future: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur and Thrive in an Unpredictable Economy