Getting your dream off the ground means you have to make decisions- lots and lots of them. You have to see what routes you might take. Then you have to analyze each one and make sure you have what it takes to walk whichever road you choose. It’s good to exercise those gams- get them toned up and strong so you can dance, jump, leap, stop, stand, or run when you need to. It’s fun, infuriating, intriguing, and exhausting. Buy the time you do all this legwork; you’ll be ready for the marathon.
For me, the choice I have to make is do I self-publish my novel or do I go the traditional route? Your decision might be: do I open a franchise or open under my own idea? Do I produce my own album or hope for the big record deal? Do I start a restaurant or a personal chef business? Regardless of what the decision consists of, here are many different ways you can try out to come to the decision.
1. Create lists: pros and cons; 100 Ways to…, snowflake, To Do, Goals- short term, intermediate, long-term. Then look for patterns. You’ll get to know your strengths and weaknesses in a hurry. The Millionaire Mommy posted a great article on How to Find Your Zingers – a great list technique I’ve been putting to use over the past few days. You can read about it at: http://millionairemommynextdoor.com/2008/11/how-to-find-your-zingers/
2. Take a class. Sure, there are college classes- but there are also adult education, community ed, local businesses that sponsor everything from quilting to tax preparation. Or get online and do a class in your spare time. There are classes for every interest and need. GO LEARN SOMETHING NEW!
3. Go to a meeting of like-minded folks. An awesome website that will introduce you to groups in your area is www.Meetup.Com. I met a local writer’s group through this. Any type of hobby, business, or interest you might have either already has a group or you could start one. It is truly amazing what you will learn by getting involved with others who share your interests. Even by going to one meeting. I’ve learned so much and met interesting folks.
4. One of my favorites: Go to the library, check out every book on the subject that grabs you. Go home; sit down in a comfy spot with the stack of books. Then skim through all of them quickly- don’t stop to analyze every bit of information yet. Just quickly go through each book- start with the Table of Contents and see what stands out. Glimpse chapter headings, summaries, and sidebars. Next step, after you’ve inundated your brain with too much information: get a notebook and pen… close your eyes… take deep slow breaths… watch what pops into your mind or your heart. Now, write it down. Continue this process for a few minutes (or hours) until you connect to a calm place with an answer to a question- or you come up with the next question. It’s a highly intuitive technique, giving you room to personalize what you’ve absorbed. Then when you’re ready you have a starting point for the next step on your journey.
4. Get a mentor and ask advice. In fact, get a few of them. I’ve learned a ton from people I’ve met in person and online. You don’t have to agree with everything- but it will give you insight. I ask questions all the time. Post your questions on blogs you admire, ask people with the skills you want to have lunch or coffee. Their answers are specific to their experiences, which really personalizes what you read in books. It will help you to think about issues in new ways. For me, talking to a mentor has always helped to eliminate fears. Book knowledge is great; wisdom from experience is priceless.
Do you have any techniques you use to help in the decision making process? I invite you to share it in the comments section.
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