My assumptions questioned. Daily.

Photo by Mark Norman Francis

Thank you so much for all your positive feedback about my last post, The Extremely Personal Post.  It reminds me that when I struggling through crisis,  the first question every professional asked me was “Who is your support network”?  You can’t and shouldn’t do it alone.  So.. thank you all for helping.  And if I can help in anyway (got 2 amazing ears and can buy you decent coffee) let me know.

The one bit that I got the most feedback on was challenging my personal beliefs.  Now.. strangely enough.. this is not just a personal thing, but also equally applies to your work.  My business partner, the fabulously talented Jessica Zwaiman Lerner, and I are working through a business plan.  Well, she is and I’m supporting.  Through this process we are breaking down our assumptions.  Here are some learnings we have experienced so far.

1.  There is a difference between what you do and defining it as a business.

Both Jessica and I come from the media world.  We talk like TV people, because we were raised and trained as TV people.  Our world is filled with stories, characters, dialogue, connection, visuals, etc.  What does this has to do with building the business?  Its the product, not how we are going to make money.  We need to separate  building the product from figuring out how the product will carry a revenue.  This means shifting from the language of the creative to the language of the financial when necessary.  Not easy.

2.  We know alot.  Not!

Jessica and I are not new at this.  We are both seasoned professionals with 20 years experience each.  But every time we approach something there are gaps in our understanding.  But we have the maturity to say “we don’t know” and trust our networks to help us and some good old research.  The temptation is to think you know more than you know.  Then your assumptions get out of whack and your plan starts to loose its ground.  I want to start a drinking game with a shot for every time one of us says.. “I don’t know.”

3.  Trust your Gut.

When something is right, it feels right too.  While we are filling in our gaps, researching, picking brains of people smarter than us, we are percolating.  And as the problem presents itself, if we listen to ourselves carefully enough, Voila… our gut reveals the answer.  Now.. everyone says they follow their gut.  But do you really?  If something is nagging you inside.. do you speak up and say… “something isn’t quite right.”  I sometimes ignore that feeling and always to my detriment.

4.  Working with an amazing someone

I think working with someone really challenges your thinking and brings out the best out of you.  But if that partner doesn’t support you, understand where you are coming from and doesn’t challenge your thinking.. then how is 2 better than one?  My dream for years was to work with Jessica.. and now that we are knee deep in it, I realize how we can accomplish so much more as 2 than as 1.

5.  The world is changing

Between the economy, the way people consume content and the way people stay connected to the world is changing. its scary and unsettling.  But there is something that never changes.  People.  They are the constant to whom if you do something in these challenging times to make their life better, then you’ve got something.  I remind myself what is the ultimate goal.  I am SHOCKED frankly at how easy it is sometimes to loose sight of it.  I’m going to have to tattoo it to my hand.

So there you have it…  Have you had any assumptions lately that were challenged?  Or new learnings that you can share?  Would love to hear them.



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