Stagnation Is The Most Dangerous Challenge You Face
I’ve worked with entrepreneurs and been an entrepreneur almost my entire career. Although it can be a tough road at times, I would not trade it for anything.
As an entrepreneur and advisor, I am often confronted with concern about failing. Over the years, I have learned that the only true failure is stagnation. If you stagnate, inevitably you will get run over or passed by. It’s an unwritten rule of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
So if stagnation is the enemy, what can you do about it?
First, make sure you remain aware of the progress you are making, both in your business and in your personal development. Always be learning and looking for opportunities to improve.
Second, come up with a new definition of failure. Understand that when you are “pushing the envelope,” everything will not always go exactly as planned. Look at every failure as an opportunity to learn, take what you can from it and move on. Don’t dwell on it. Most every successful entrepreneur I know will tell you that they’ve learned more from their “failures” than they have from their successes.
Third, test relentlessly. The further you go in your entrepreneurial career, the more you realize that “business planning in a vacuum” is a bad idea. You need to go to your target market, current customers and prospective customers included, and talk to them. Test ideas with them. Take some incremental risks with smaller scale releases of potential product and service offerings. Test constantly and you will quickly realize that the data obtained from such testing is invaluable.
Fourth, if you feel you are stagnating, push yourself to be at least a bit adventurous and try a few things you thought you never would. Moving outside your comfort zone has many tremendous collateral benefits, including giving you confidence and often causing you to realize that the world beyond your “cocoon” has a lot to offer. This applies equally to your personal and business lives; keeping it fresh, as the saying goes, tends to benefit all aspects of your life, in ways you haven’t imagined.
Fifth and finally, realize that stagnation often brings with it a host of negative effects that can be very destructive. Just like standing water, which any survival expert will tell you is almost never safe to drink, a stagnated mind, or business, or anything, really needs to find a way to flow again. Without a consistent flow of ideas and fresh energy, a “system” tends to become polluted and toxic. One metaphor I like to use for this is “don’t drink your own bath water”. Get out there and look for fresh ideas and embrace change, rather than fearing it.
I look forward to your thoughts and questions. Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.
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