Leaping Before You Look
A friend of ours has just purchased a yoga studio. It’s a beautiful space but the previous owner was erratic. She didn’t keep regular hours and that, along with some other aspects of her lack of business savvy, turned off many of her loyal customers. The place has a lot of potential if it’s run properly.
The story of how our friend, a yoga fan but not an instructor, decided to buy this business is quite fascinating. We’ve always been advised to think everything through, have a business plan and know exactly how you’re going to make it all happen. That’s not what our friend did. She went with her gut. People ask her what hours she’ll be open. “Just let me sign the papers and we’ll get to that”, she replies. They pepper her with questions about how she will market the studio, how many classes she’ll offer, who else will work there. “Right now I’m signing the papers to acquire the business. That’s where I am. I’ll deal with all of that when I get to it.”
Some might think she’s not thinking things through but that’s not the case at all. She’s living in the moment and handling aspects of the business as they become priority. First step: buy the business and sign the lease. She has already decided that it’s a good idea so the anxiety imposed upon her by others isn’t useful. Her attitude is to not get ahead of herself, because she’s not there yet.
Her story brought to mind the many times I (and maybe you) have talked myself out of doing potentially risky things by walking through every step of the process and freaking myself out. Anticipating a future that may or may not turn out to be accurate is a waste of time that we fool ourselves into thinking is analysis. There were other times I jumped on something because I knew it was a good move, and figured the rest out later, and those are the moments that stand out in my life.
Richard Branson, the billionaire behind the Virgin brand and many other companies said, “I rely more on gut instinct…” than data. He’s also a big fan of saying yes to something and figuring out how to do it later. Bill Gates trusts his intuition above all else. Apple CEO Tim Cook left Compaq when it was the most successful computer company in the world to join struggling Apple. The point is, it’s not always about how it looks on paper. It’s about trusting yourself and being mindful of the moment, not twenty steps down the line.
People thought I was nuts to leave the best job in broadcasting in Toronto to move to London. It was about personal satisfaction and putting my personal life ahead of my career. It turned out to be the right thing. The only time I looked down the line was to decide what kind of life I wanted to have and I thought I had a better chance after the move. Will our friend’s studio be successful? That remains to be seen. After all, she has just signed the papers.