Do you ever feel like you are living in chaos, out of control? Do you feel like you are in an airplane that is spinning out of control, rolling, flipping, nose-diving to a crash? Do you want to eject from the situation and parachute to safety? Maybe it’s your personal life that is spinning? Maybe it’s your career that is nose-diving? Maybe it’s your business that is taking off? That overwhelming feeling can paralyze you, preventing you from taking even one small step in any direction, let alone the right direction that leads you forward. The wise saying is, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Actually, there was quite a bit that came before that first step. Someone imagined a journey—a journey to some place distant. A journey to a future time and place with rewards for the effort. They thought about that journey and what it would take. It’s now 50 years since man walked on the moon. What a journey that was! Neil Armstrong, as he took that hopeful, first step said, “That’s one small step for man—one giant leap for mankind.” That small, single step had a decade of planning, practice, failure, and success that came before the triumphant exclamation.
Instead of starting with a single step, let’s take a step back and consider how to plan and navigate the journey from
In the aerospace world of planes, drones, satellites, and spacecraft, navigation is measured with 7 degrees. There is time plus the standard six degrees of freedom called X (forward/back), Y (left/right), Z (up/down), pitch, roll, and yaw (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_freedom).
Let’s think of this as a multiple step process. I’ll call it the Business Accelerants™️ 7-D Process.
This is determining your .A. It’s much more than a place. It’s your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). It’s an analysis of your market share or your place in a company, or an evaluation of your personal life. There are dozens of things to do. If acquiring a business, it comes under the title of due diligence and business valuation. If in your career, its about whatever the human resources department has determined are the measures of effectiveness. It could be an assessment of your progress toward defined goals. If in your personal life, it is likely to include better understanding your feelings, your values, and your place in the universe. The first step is to stop and think.
This is about determining your .B. Where do you want to be at some future time? What will it look like, feel like, smell like? Emotion is important in this phase. Some call it defining your “why” of existing as a company, as a worker, or as a person. I recall in my early 30s having to write my own eulogy or epitaph. What did I want people to say at some future date regarding what I had accomplished or done with my life.
This is the strategy piece. Sometimes people say your tombstone has two dates, your birth date and your death date. But the most important part of the tombstone is the dash between the two dates. How did you define success in your life, your career, your business? It cannot only be money, as you cannot take it with you. It’s more about what you will do with the money. Look at the alternatives for getting from point A to point B. I put a question mark with a dash to emphasize it needs to be determined how you will go from the starting gate to the end of the journey. You must evaluate the alternatives, the risks, and the costs. Decide what the strategy will be and get everyone to agree.
No one can do it alone. Whether in life, your career, or your business. You need other people to help. Even if your point B is to become a hermit and eschew all of civilization, you will need a guide to help you before you take that step into the desert or to climb the mountain or descend into the cave.
Here in Portland, the headquarters for Nike, we often use their tag line of, “Just Do It!” We’ve seen how that can energize people to get things done, but it can also lead people to ignore the proper ways of doing it. The previous 4-Ds help you to prepare to “Do It Right!” Or, “Do It Best!” (I’ll put my DIBs on that one.)
6. Dismiss Distractions
Maintaining focus on the strategy and your point B will be challenging. Dismiss the distractions that keep you from doing, or take you off the course you’ve set. We admire people that overcome all sorts of obstacles as they did deep inside themselves using their “why” to keep them going, to persist in spite of the challenges thrown at them.
This most likely won’t be your last journey. For explorers in the past, sometimes it was. Journals, diaries, letters help us understand and appreciate what others have gone through and help us prepare for our next journey. The Bible is just such a document. The writings of the saints are such documents. The checklists of pilots are such documents. The videos on YouTube for your DIY project are such documents. At your company the process for ordering supplies is such a document. Document your own journey to help others in their journey in life, career, and business.
Two years ago this month, my grandson was born. About one year ago, he took his first, tentative steps with the help and encouragement of parents and grandparents. He’s now toddling and climbing, sometimes running. I’ll admit he did not consciously apply the 7-D process. Yet, I’d submit he used it.
- Diagnose—He recognized he could not walk and others could.
- Define—He defined he aspired to be like others and move more freely and quickly
- Decide—He decided try and fail fast was a strategy he could deploy since he was close to the ground.
- Delegate—He held the hands of his parents at first, delegating some of the work of balance.
- Do—He took that first step, fell, got up, took another.
- Dismiss Distractions—He ignored the family dog barking and nipping at him. He fell numerous times, sometimes hurting himself. He stayed focused on the prize of freedom of movement.
- Document—He repeats this process, so I know it is now in his brain, encoded in chemicals and electrical signals. All parents know the process. It’s documented in our brains. It’s now documented in software and AI algorithms that allow anthropomorphic and dog-like robots to walk and learn to do new things. https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/robotic-leg-learns-to-walk/
Go ahead and take that first step to freedom in YOUR life, career, and business. Don’t spin out of control as you navigate from
Apply the Business Accelerants™️ 7-D process to be successful.