You have a grand vision for your business. But do you have a business map?
That vision gives you the drive and motivation to push forward and not to give up when things get unbearable.
But the same guiding light can as easily become the source of anxiety if you can’t figure out to how to actually reach it.
This is why you might find yourself having a conversation like I had with a friend the other day, who said:
“I’m confident that I’m on the right track. I can figure out my next actions. I’m good at next actions! I know what I need to do tomorrow, next week, even February.
But what about February 2017? How do I conceptually fit together what I spend my time on today so that it brings me closer to my big audacious goal several months from now?
How can I balance making money to make a living now with ensuring that I’m headed in the right direction long-term? For example, I can create a bunch of products, but is it really the best use of my time??
The thing is, I’m pretty good at figuring out what to put on my immediate to-do list. I’m also clear what I’m working towards. But the path to get there, that’s where it gets foggy.”
The Tour de Mont Blanc
Her words took me back to 2008 when I decided to go on the Tour de Mont Blanc to explore the tucked away paths of French, Italian, and Swiss Alps.
…It was misty gloomy September morning. I forced my feet into still damp hiking shoes fighting the feeling of disgust. It was only second day of our hike, but my excitement about the adventure was fading away alarmingly fast.
In my mind, I was grabbing at the picture I had painted for myself in anticipation of the trip: welcoming sunshine, leisurely pace, breathtaking scenery, and cozy little chalets.
My daydream was interrupted by our guide Bertrand, who yelled at us to get going.
I picked up my aching body and walked outside of the little house where we had spent the night. Except for the heavenly dinner (possibly tasting that good, because we were famished when we had reached the place the evening before), none of my fantasies has come true so far.
In my legs, I could still feel the pace of our previous day, which we spent briskly working our way through the thick fog nearly losing one of our hikers, who took the wrong turn and immediately lost the sight of the rest of the group.
By midday, we had reached a valley, where the fog first got denser and then turned into a light rain.
I felt as miserable as I looked. My stylish haircut had turned into a pitiful shapeless lump. Mud squelched under my feet and slowly seeped into my supposedly waterproof shoes. My back was burning under the weight of my backpack, where I had to make space for my share of the group lunch food supply. The fact that my sweet share were bricks of Swiss chocolate, which probably was going to be eaten first, wasn’t comforting me anymore.
I felt my dignity returning only that evening when I, freshly showered and well fed, I found myself laughing at the predicaments each one of our group members got themselves into that first day.
Turns out, it wasn’t easy for anyone, not just the newbies, like me. Everyone was pushing their own limits. And it was just the beginning.
Just the beginning of an adventure with steep icy ascends and magnificent timeless beauty of the mountains; precarious passages and bright star-filled tapestry of the night sky; a feeling of smallness and fragility, and gratitude for being a part of this world…
There are so many lessons that that hiking trip taught me and that I keep coming back to now as an entrepreneur:
- It’s only by putting on the wet boots (ick!) and getting out there every day that we can arrive at our vision. It’s our daily actions that clear the fog.
- There is more than one way to get to our destination, but it’s critical to know where we’re trying to get. “If you don’t know where we’re going, any road will get you there.”
- Often times things don’t work out exactly as we imagined they would. Looking back, as we connect the dots, we see how our individual actions add up to a, possibly different, whole than we imagined.
The Biggest Realization Of All
But most importantly:
- Even when we have a map, the best way to make sure that we follow the right path is to get clear on what markers to look for. Only by regularly orienting ourselves and reassessing our progress can we ensure that we’re moving towards the right goal. We need to have a Business Map!
So, here’s to crazy adventures and paths never traveled before.
Back to You
What are you building or working toward in your business today that’s bigger than anything else? Do you have a Business Map?