One of the biggest struggles that most entrepreneurs face is getting clarity. They want to clearly see the end result before they build the foundation. If you are having difficulty making choices, you might be waiting too long for complete clarity to emerge.
Can you have clarity in everything you do as an entrepreneur?
The truth is a lot of entrepreneurial success comes serendipitously. You may try a hundred different things or pitch an idea to a hundred different potential investors until the right match comes along.
Ryan Holiday talks about this in his book The Obstacle is the Way and gives examples of renowned entrepreneurs who trusted their instincts and put in the hard work to make their vision become a reality. It didn’t work out 100% the way they imaged every time. In fact, sometimes a perceived failure was what led them to a huge success. Not having clarity, yet being willing to take a chance, set them apart from the competition and gave them a distinct competitive advantage.
When Steve Jobs announced to the executives at Apple that it was time to start making products for the consumer market, he didn’t have assurance that it would be a booming success. In fact, one high-ranking board member told him it was a “lunatic plan”. Thankfully, Jobs didn’t give up on his idea, because he paved the way for each of us to have the iPhone and the other technology that exponentially enhance our potential for productivity.
The Obstacle is the Way shares the story of Steve Jobs along with Thomas Edison, Samuel Zemurray, John D. Rockefeller, and many other entrepreneurs who lacked complete clarity when they set out, but went on to achieve amazing heights of success.
Planning is good, and assessing possible outcomes is key for preparation and understanding what something should look like if it is executed according to plan. However, you simply cannot factor every variable when it’s time to make a choice. Most entrepreneurs would be an inch wide and a mile deep if they were absolutely certain what they were doing was the right choice. But, there will always be unknowns. If we had all the answers to begin with, everyone would be doing the same thing.
Many people are afraid they’re about to make a choice that may be good, but not best for their lives. They aren’t sure what the best choice for their lives is. Therefore, they never have absolute certainty and clarity that what they're doing will make the biggest impact. They don’t approach opportunities with vigor. They remain sceptical and never dive fully into something.
I didn’t have absolute clarity when I decided to write my book View From the Top, but I made the decision that I wanted to share parts of my journey that were of profound significance in leading me to where I am today, so I started writing. Now that View From the Top is published, and men are telling me that the content is helping them in their own journeys, I can be satisfied with my decision to write it and confident that I made the right choice. If I had waited for complete clarity, for some assurance of success, I still wouldn’t have started writing it by now.
I would much rather try something and see it fall short of what I’d hoped than to wake up one day years later wondering “I wonder what would have happened if I had gone for it.”
Assess the risks. Use the information you have right now a decision. If you decide to go for it, leave the flexibility to pivot if absolutely necessary, but make the choice to get started today and stay true to your decision. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t sit on the sideline and settle for average. My mom always told me “Average is just as close to the bottom as it is to the top.”
Don’t wait for total clarity. Make wise choices, and make them promptly. As entrepreneurs, we need to harness our vision and be an inch wide and a mile deep on what we’re doing. You don’t need to be absolutely certain that you’re making a right choice. You just need to live on purpose with a great amount of intentionality. Hey, could you have made a better choice? Maybe, but if you don’t pull the trigger on this idea you will never know.