Confirmation in the Doing 

What's Next
August 7th, 2017 / Dan Cooper

Have you ever been stuck in transition?

You need to make a decision to move forward but are hung up with feelings of uncertainty and uneasiness.  Risk is everywhere and the next step will change everything going forward.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could feel more at peace about your decision and have more clarity and confidence?

Let me share one truth that I have learned by watching many leaders make these kinds of decisions.

There is confirmation in the doing.

I know … mind blowing right?

Quick example: An executive wants to make a career change or has recently sold their business. They set out to find “what’s next.” What’s an achiever like this to do?

They research, analyze, read, think about, and perhaps hope that an answer will appear. They categorize their passions, skills, experience, expertise and try to match those to a job or market.

When this is done in the “research and decide” vacuum, one of two things can happen.

They do nothing … paralysis of analysis.

They pull the trigger and figure out in 90 days in that it’s the wrong decision.

Both suck.

There is confirmation in the doing. But you need to DO in a way that will move you forward and provide clarity informing your next steps.

Transition specialists, The Halftime Institute, suggest low cost probes. “The Lean Startup” author, Eric Ries, suggests using a minimum viable product (or in this case process) and the scientific method: using a hypothesis, getting out of the office to test, take feedback, learn and iterate.

Both concepts have the same basic idea. You don’t know until you go try something. When you get out of the office you get feedback, learn, and can make a more informed decision about what to do or not do next.

The key in both is to start with small, easy to execute tests.

Be careful: Where this process goes wonky is when you really really want your test to go a certain way or you have decided on the outcomes before you start the test. This creates a huge amount bias with yourself, the data, information, feedback, and results. You must remain open, objective, and unattached.

The other kicker is time. This is a slower process than most people like. In big decisions like this, time is your friend. Slower is better.

Life is about transitions: going from one state to another.

To get clear on the right path, stop thinking about, researching, analyzing, or assuming and get out there and see what works.

Dan Cooper

Dan is a Partner and Growth Catalyst for Acumen, a mastermind community that exists to sharpen, challenge, and inspire CEOs and Owners through affinity-centric advisory teams, executive coaching, and leadership acceleration workshops.