I’ve learned over the past 5 years, business is a funny thing. It’s sort of like piloting a boat without any real certainty of where the final port will end up being. You aim for ports that you know of; either from journeys others have taken, or from rumours of lands unexplored. The part where it ceases to be like piloting a boat is that you aren’t at open sea, you aren’t able to predict the weather, and to be honest, you can’t see the stars nor have GPS.
One person I’ve spoken to said, “it’s like tap-dancing.” You have to keep the beat and just keep on going, light footed, skipping past all of the issues, and not letting a stumble break your step.
That could be true too, but the problem is it’s like tap-dancing, where the music may suddenly turn into a polka or a samba at any time.
What I’m finding is it is, for better or worse, a martial art. You can learn from the masters and work your way up, and yes, some people have a natural knack for it. You start by learning the rules and the strictest throws and punches, being judged exclusively for how exact you perform them. However, as you go up the ranks you learn that being strict and rigid is a darned good way to break your arm. Following the specific steps you’ve learned is a good way to get thrown to the mat pretty quickly. Why? Because those are the specific steps everyone has learned.
What you realize is that it takes a little unintended give, sometimes.
Some people call it pivoting, but to me that implies a bit too much forethought. The decisions you make are too quick and too responsive to be simply a pivot. Spending a lot of time on a decision is a good way to waste money or, to use the martial arts analogy, quickly be thrown out of the ring.
We’ve probably all heard the “Kung Fu” slogan that you want to be like a reed, able to bend in the wind, not a stick which snaps. We also probably think we’ve taken it to heart in various areas of our lives. Probably true for the ones you can think of. Similarly. most people forget that a reed also had some rigidity, otherwise it cannot stand at all.
It’s not being a wet spaghetti, it’s a little unintended give.
Sometimes it sucks, but at the end of the day, it seems to be the best way to survive, grow and move forward.
A broken reed dies in the pond.