If you’re a small business owner, or an artist, maker, or writer, you are an explorer!
You explore your internal world with creativity and curiosity. You explore the external world, through sharing your work, chatting with customers, and assessing what works. You explore your own path to success by watching what works (and doing more of it) and learning from what doesn’t work (and then doing less of that!)
The good news: You’ve got the basics of what you need inside you – your smarts, your curiosity, your ability to learn and grow and adapt. But when you beam down to an unknown planet, it can be reassuring to have a pack with you and a few helpful tools.
But what to pack?
- Your map (so you know what direction to go)
- A Captain’s Log (so you don’t forget what you learn) + a tricorder (to scan the environment)
- A sweater (to keep you warm)
- An Away Team (to keep you company)
No matter what you read in a book, blog, or class, you get to decide where you want to go in your business and define success for yourself. Afterall, you’re not exploring an unknown alien planet, you’re exploring the world you’ve created. And you are the only one who knows it (and knows what you WANT it to be), so you (need to, and get to) make your own map.
Your map tells you where you want to go and what you want to discover.
As you travel, you consult the map to make sure you’re going the direction you want to go. When you make discoveries, you redraw the map to reflect the facts on the ground. (It’s ok, the map is not the territory.) When you reach the destination on your map, you whip out your Captain’s Log and your tricorder, lay in a new course, and you make a new map.
A tricorder + a Captain’s Log
These two go together, because a tricorder scans the environment and gives you feedback, while your Captain’s Log is where you write down what you’ve learned.
Your tricorder is probably made up of a few things – your own powers of observations, your experiments (if I write the description like this, will I sell more?), and what you’ve learned. You favorite websites and books might format your tricorder, so you know what other people have experienced and what clues to look for.
But scanning and learning isn’t enough – you’ve got to hold on to that on-the-ground learning, you’ve got to remember where you’ve been and what you found there. Every time you experiment, every time you learn something, every time a resident of your world tells you something – you record it in your Captain’s Log.
My Captain’s Log is a big floppy, blank-paged journal that I keep in my purse at all times. Sometime scraps of my Log go public. Yours might be digital on Evernote, or analog in a journal…or a mix of both. (This is another place to experiment!)
But no matter where you write – don’t leave home without it! Your Captain’s Log will both reassure when you come across something crazy (oh! I’ve slayed this monster before!) and will remind you that everything is always changing, and you get to write your own story.
I know, I know. It’s easy to skip the sweater and just count on the sunshine. But the sun doesn’t always shine.
Sometimes you stumble into a dark corner on your map and you start to feel lost and chilly.
A sweater is the thing that comforts you and encourages you.
For some, the sweater is an encouraging friend.
For others, the sweater is a calming, centering ritual, like lighting a candle, drinking a cup of tea, or praying.
For others, the sweater is taking a simple, easy action to move them towards the warmth.
For others, the sweater is proof that this isn’t forever, it’s some piece of data that proves they’ll get back to warmth.
Whatever your sweater is, find it.
Don’t leave home without a sweater.
An Away Team
“Away Team” is just a fancy way of saying – the people who are with you while you explore. They may be right there, exploring with you, or they might just talk to you when you return from a day’s adventure. Ideally, your Away Team is made up of different personality types, so you get a variety of opinions.
A rational, numbers-minded person to help you wade through the data your experiments are creating, or balance your spreadsheets.
An idealist, that dreams big and encourages you to greatness.
A deeply personal friend, who will hug you when you cry, or patch you up when you skin your knee.
(Note: Your team is only filled with people who will love you no matter what. They are not judgmental, they don’t make you feel bad, or different, or weird. When you use a metaphor (like, say, “Away Team”), they smile brightly and thank you for being so quirky)
These people might be in your group of friends or family. They might be your online friends. If you’re not sure where they are, look around. Are they hiding in plain sight? And if you’re not finding them, take a look inside the OMHG community, or aboard the Starship.
No matter where you find them, remember to bring them aboard – tell them what’s going on, ask for what you need, share your big dreams and your tiny worries.
What’s in your pack?
What are you missing and what are you going to gather this week?
Gather with Tara & Team OMHG this Thursday July 4th for a holiday #OMHG to find our Away Teams, chat packing for exploration & mapping uncharted territory with Tara!
*If all this Star Trek metaphoring wasn’t geeky enough for you…or not your kind of geekiness, I had to throw in a Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference. Just remember: DON’T PANIC