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.



17 comments on “My assumptions questioned. Daily.”

  1. Kate says:

    I am very moved by your posts. I had no idea you had gone through all that. Although we only spent an extremely short time together, I felt a connection to you (sounds cheezy I know).

    I’m glad you have emerged happy and arguably strong enough to handle anything

    Kudos and best wishes

  2. @Kate. Thanx Kate. I don’t think connection is cheesy. I think authenticity is difficult to come by and difficult to be. When you find it, a connection is made. :).

  3. Yomar says:

    I don’t know how you do it but in such a concise piece, you bring up so many fantastic ideas.. Where do I even start?

    On the matter of assumptions, it’s very true that we have to be open to admitting we are wrong or weak in certain areas.. So much of what there is to do in today’s business world is constantly changing. We have to change along with the evolving marketplace too!

    Partnership.. I need to do that sometime. I tend to take on a lot as a solopreneur but I’m still looking for that perfect match for me. No rush.. I’m doing all right as it is. I just know a partner with fully-vested interest in our collaborative projects will keep me engaged and persistent, moreso than even our wonderful little work-OUT group does (though that helps me plenty)!

    Now, I can offer you tons of insight with regards to Search Engine Optimization (including testing different blog tags for effectiveness) and Business Plans. I’ve seen enough business plans to know that most treat them as a static document. Yes, you need the financial aspects and the revenue model is HUGE, but your plan has to be something that lives and evolves as well.

    Sooooo.. If you need fresh perspective, let me know! I’d love to meet your partner in crime some time, even if it’s just virtually.. Though decent coffee works for me! ;o)

    I’m here for you. =o)

  4. @Yomar. My partner is in Hong Kong and I hear its a long walk. So.. a virtual coffee it is! She is not digitally active. Actually spends a bit too much time in the Real World. I tell her that she really needs to redefine her priorities! LOL. Thanx for your offer and you know its completely reciprocated!

  5. Klaudia says:

    Hi Laurinda,

    #1 – love it. It’s so so sooooooo important, and “that why” we are forgetting about that sometimes.

    Business plan? I had a pleasure to attend a business meeting for new entrepreneurs and let me just say, some of them didn’t think that business plan is something very important. I (still) think it’s not easy to create really good and “right” business plan.

  6. @Klaudia yes.. business plans are necessary evils. You need to know 1) where you are going 2) how are you going to get there 3) and can you make any money in the process. Without a plan, its like my hours of wandering online. Thoroughly enjoyable, but unproductive.

  7. We can discuss a lot from those five points. But I’m a big believer of point number three “trust your gut”. Mostly I have all of the answers inside of me, but the question is if I have the self-esteem to trust myself. If I don’t will experience some detriments in my life.

  8. @Mattias Yes. We must trust ourselves. Could not agree more.

  9. Laurinda, aloha. With the way you have laid out this post, you and Jessica are well on your way to creating what you want. #1 and #3 called out to me for amplification as I was reading this so I would like to share some info which you may find helpful.

    If you go over to my blog, type in the search bar “STOP! It’s not the what” you will come across a post with a very interesting video that will help you define what you want. Interestingly enough since Steve Jobs just resigned, one of the examples they use in the video is how Steve moved forward in the defining process.

    #3 is so important, Laurinda, because too often people do disregard their guts because they think that is not solid or evidence or proof. In reality, if you know what your core values are, then when something comes up that is not in alignment with those values, your gut will scream at you. When you know what your core values are, decisions become easier to make because you always know where you are going.

    A book written years ago by Hyrum Smith teaches you how to determine those values. It is entitled “The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management.” Hyrum’s teachings along with Richard Winwood evolved into the Franklin Day Planner systems which are now Covey/Franklin Day Planners. Truly great book, Laurinda.

    Congratulations to you and Jessica, Laurinda. It sounds like you are on the right tracking and laying it out well in front of you as you go. Until later, aloha. Janet

  10. @janet. Thank you for your encouraging words!

    You have given me a great gift with your comment today. I just watched the video and WOW.. it makes so much sense! And.. what a simple, but heart moving, passionate way to define yourself, your work and your business. I can’t thank you enough for sharing that.
    Therefore, I’m going to go right now and get Smith’s book (as well as Simon’s)!

    Thank you Janet. You are a generous soul for taking the time to share.

  11. My favorite is #3. We have to stop trusting in the mind and practice trusting our gut. Your gut will say go, do it, you can do this. And your mind will think of a million reasons why you can’t. Your gut will say, take the action, say yes, go for it, and your mind will say, you are not good enough, you’re stupid, you have done it in the past and it didn’t work out. Begin to see that the mind’s job is to keep you alive==it is a part of your biology.

  12. @ Rachel. Oh yes.. that pesky mind… getting in the way. I can’t say how many times I would understand something logically, but totally not feel it in my gut. They need to match to be successful.

  13. Keri says:


    Two phrasings really stood out to me:

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

    “But there is something that never changes. People.”

    I’m still processing — chewing on those a bit. Maybe because that is where I should probably concentrate some of my own energies.

    The world is indeed changing. I like to focus on the way people can be, and stay, connected. 🙂

    Looking forward to seeing you at Facebook Success Summit 2011!


  14. Stan Faryna says:

    Yomar Lopez comments that he’s looking for the perfect business partner.

    Buddy, there is no such thing as a perfect business partner. Because the perfect business partner is the business partner that doesn’t need you. Now let’s do some amazing things. All of us. Together.

    Recently on my blog post: Letter to Occupy Wall Street Protesters

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