Do you spend a lot of time thinking about taking action?
Are you often wringing your hands and gnashing your teeth trying to figure out the perfect action to take?
That’s a great deal of time, energy and opportunity wasted.
How might things be different if you treated your business as a series of calculated experiments?
My natural proclivity is to over-think, over-plan, and over-prepare. The problem is it was sucking the life out of me and was working against me as a business owner. That’s when a few mentors planted the seed of experimentation in me. Things have never been the same – in a damn good way – since.
For the purpose of this discussion, I define experimentation as taking intentional action, consistently, over a long enough period time to get meaningful data. You may or may not get the outcome you seek but you will get experience and data that informs your next step. It’s not haphazard “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks” style, but thoughtful, playful choices of what actions to take based on your overall strategy.
Here are 5 reasons to approach everything with a spirit of experimentation.
You will learn far more from doing it than from thinking about it
I was talking to a colleague the other day that admitted that she spends a lot of time thinking about thinking about taking action. It gets her hung up and in a vicious cycle of not taking (enough) action over a long enough period of time to see if her ideas are viable. I said, “You will learn far more from doing the thing than from thinking about the thing.” Action is the antidote to fear, uncertainty, and stagnancy. If you treat everything as an experiment, you spend more time in action and less time thinking about it.
Your mindset and business stays nimble
Nimble is the name of the game for the ever-shifting business climate. When you are in experimentation mode rather than entrenched in only one way of doing things (that has to work or your business will tank) you can roll with the punches. When the economy, technology, industry, or customer behavior changes, you can adapt right along with it.
You get real market data quickly and consistently
Experimentation is the perfect path to finding out if your ideas are viable or not. Don’t guess, wonder or try to convince people that your thing is so great or that they need it. Don’t spend large amounts of capital setting up complex infrastructures. Offer it up in different ways. Try new ideas. Play with new modes of delivery. Then get real feedback where it matters most – from your ideal clients.
Self-torture becomes a thing of the past
When you task yourself with coming up with the “one right thing to do” that will make your business great, it is a lot of pressure. With that comes a great deal of comparison, expectation, and high emotional stakes. As business owners, especially women, we internalize all this, torture ourselves with the terrorist in our own heads, and suffer. Imagine skipping the suffering and just getting to work. You might feel disoriented for a bit, but I can tell you the way it frees you up inside is SWEET.
Replaces the energy of expectation with a playful curiosity
Expectations weight heavy. You have goals, income needs, and people who are counting on you. It feels like the weight of the world is riding on this one webinar/product launch/live event, etc. To me, that is crushing. It does not bring out the best in me; does it bring out the best in you? If you shift to a mode of playful curiosity everything shifts. You can still be as intense as you like (or not). You can still go for it with all you have. The difference is you are curious, not hobbled by the pressure of expectation.
Now Go Experiment
I am an advocate of deep thinking, spending time in reflection and using great discernment in decision-making. I believe this can live side by side with a playful curiosity of daily experimentation. Define what you want to do and how long you want to do it, and then GET GOING. Whether you get the outcome you want or discover a big mistake doesn’t matter. Remember some of the best things in life happened when things did not go as expected and something new and better emerged (think champagne and beer for instance).