Two Questions to Ask Before Making Any Plans

The other weekend I was at an event and overheard two women talking about the great speakers and information that was being shared.

Woman 1: “I’m just now starting my business and there’s so much great information here!  I’m overwhelmed! I don’t know what to do first.”

Woman 2: “Really? Well, I guess I know what I’m looking for because I’ve been in business a bit. It’s great information, but I know what will work for me and what won’t.”

Ever feel like Woman 1? I know I have! In an effort to get all the bang that I can for my buck, I’m furiously taking notes and trying to figure out how to apply everything I hear to my own business. By the end of the day, I have so much written down that the only stuff that actually gets done later in my business (or life) is what sticks in my head. It’s just too overwhelming and time consuming to go back through all those notes!

I wrote a little bit about this topic in the post How to Avoid New Idea Overwhelm. However, that conversation I overheard reminded me that I missed a step. There’s more to it than having a plan for how you’ll capture new ideas.

You need to know what new ideas to capture. To do that you have to answer two questions:

  • Where Am I?
  • Where Am I Going?

Kinda sounds like you’re planning a road trip, right? Well, in a way you are – you’re planning the path your business will take.

Using the road trip example, you have to know the answers to both questions. Why? Well, think about trying to plan a trip without having some idea of about where you are or where you’re going. If you’re going from Chicago to Orlando it cuts down on the travel options, right? You know you’re headed in a south easterly direction and will probably be flying or driving. If you decide to fly, you know that a flight to California wouldn’t be helpful. And worrying about where the baggage claim is at the Orlando airport isn’t useful when you’re trying to find your airline counter in Chicago to check a bag.

It works very similarly for your business. If you know that you’re just starting your business, programs that teach you how to host large events might not be for you. Perhaps it will be useful information later, but someone will be out there teaching that when you’re ready for it. No need to worry about taking in all that information right now.

A friend and I used this method constantly at the conference. There were generally two speaker options. We’d look at both and decide which one made the most sense to us based on these two questions. There was at least one speaker that I would have loved to hear, but I knew that it wasn’t for me right now.

So, where are you and where are you going? Knowing both will help you set your goals, know your next steps and decide when the information, opportunity or program is right for your business (or life).

I’d love to know where you’ve applied this in your business (or life).