In my mind, they seemed to beckon an unwary and possibly drunken teenager returning home in the dark to gravely injure themselves.
One morning, haunted by this image, I waited until no one was watching and turned the shards upside down, burying them in the grass. It was I thought, another one of my Owen Meany moments.
Owen Meany was the protagonist of a John Irwin novel, A Prayer For Owen Meany, published in 1989. I’ve long since forgotten the nuances of the plot except that Owen had a conviction he was to save the lives of many Vietnamese children. He didn’t know how, but all his life he practised a basket ball manoeuvre which involved his friend lifting him high in the air to dunk the ball. I won’t spoil the story for those of you who might still read it. It’s a great book.
The meaning of life
I read it decades ago. The notion that we are here to become expert in something, in my case saving these imaginary people somehow from themselves, buried itself into my subconscious.
Mostly I’m unaware of it until I catch myself out in a daydream, practising a complex series of manoeuvres to save someone from harm.
These efforts to reduce bodily harm have not been as much required as my imagination would suggest. It has however made me a good at spotting a morass and ways out of it. Frustratingly, especially in business, I can’t always don an Owen Meany cape and thrust out a helping hand as intervention isn’t always invited.
Still it’s a practise at which I may have spent way beyond the mandatory 10,000 hours they, whoever they are, say is required to become expert at something.
Most of us spend that and more in our professional lives becoming expert at what we do.
We may meander around our core expertise and dabble in this or that, but essentially we are perfecting that core every day in small and minute ways.
Losing the core
It has led me to believe that the entrepreneurial spirit is much troubled by MPD, (multiple possibility disorder). Not unlike my imaginary, unruly teenager unaware of those lurking shards in the dark.
Entrepreneurs are creative people, constantly seeing possibilities which may be life changing and lucrative. Trouble arises when they lose sight of how these relate to their core. Without clarity, it’s soon a mirage, energy dissipates and the potential is lost.
Talk to an expert
On the morning of my Owen Meany moment, I read a blog post titled ‘The Fog‘ by Glen Carlson, CEO of Key Person of Influence in Australia.
Glen suggested that the fog shows up when you are doing something new, not when it is something you have done or already know. He didn’t suggest we stick with what we know. On the contrary, he said that entrepreneurs should embrace the fog because out of it comes clarity and perspective.
Beyond sharing what you’re up to and having a plan, he said, “Talk to an expert. Don’t chart unknown territory without a guide”.
For many who run their own show, the future is uncharted territory.
What we can know about it with certainty is this:
In every business there is a business owner who will want to exit and or transition one day.
What we also know is that most business owners become an encyclopaedia of knowledge, expertise and experience. That in and of itself doesn’t preclude the morass.
The morass is a mess. In the short term, too many competing ideas, no clarity around the best revenue model and wasted energy and resources on the wrong positioning for too little reward. In the long term, not being able to exit or transition successfully when you most want to or are even desperate to pursue other options.
Navigating this future is about how you gain understanding of the opportunities and obstacles and plan for them. Taking expert advice on how to do it well is one of the best things any business owner can do.
As an example, a medical expert soon to open a private practise in one city and planning to opening up in another was speaking to me recently about the development of their website.
The practice requires a basic information site for its potential patients. She also wanted to draw on her sizeable expertise and experience to develop content that provided valuable medical recommendation and information to the practice’s patients over the years.
Another Owen Meany moment
There would be two separate business with websites positioning their individual practices. But all that expertise and knowledge positioned the medical speciality, not the businesses, and would become a sizeable resource in its own right independent of the practices, even if it was used to promote both businesses.
Set up on its own domain, she would have so many more choices at the point of exit not available to her otherwise.
Blogging and positioning
Blogging is of course a pre-eminent strategy for positioning whatever you are positioning.
In my case, Why You Must Blog positions blogging, not myself as a blogger, or my business of teaching people to blog, or my blogging products. But as a by product of that work, I’ve become known as having expertise in blogging and doors have opened. A bonus, if you like.
Many business owners keen to get blogging bolt this invaluable asset onto the back of an existing website. Caught up in the ‘fog’ of doing something new, they haven’t yet considered the long term implications. My advice? Please don’t. Here are the six other costly business blogging mistakes to be wary of.
Make sure that the energy and effort you need to put into building a sizeable online asset is because it’s correctly positioned and will achieve the ideal long term outcomes for you and your business. Talk to an expert.
This blog is part of the Wonderful World Carnival, Being an expert yourself, doesn’t mean you know everything.
Did I just turn some wooden shards into the grass for you? I hope so!