Look at these doors.
Now look closer – which ones are locked and which aren’t?
Trick question; you can’t tell by looking. You’re going to have to walk over and try them.
Isn’t the same true as we consider our possible paths forward? Without question, there’s a time for thinking and planning and strategy, but after all that, if the right choice isn’t readily apparent, we’d be smart to start turning some doorknobs.
Cute metaphor, but what does that look like when put into practice? How do I start?
Start by doing some experimentation. In his brilliant and timely new book, Master Of One, author Jordan Raynor underlines the importance of this measured risk-taking with five principles of effective experimentation, beginning with this: Place Little Bets.
“First, wherever possible, place little bets when experimenting with what you think your one thing might be. This can be done through short-term internships, side hustles that you take on in addition to your nine-to-five job, or projects at your current job that fall outside your formal job description.”
And just in case you think your safest bet is standing pat, you may be more wrong than you think (more on that here).
‘Wait, Matthew. This is all a fancy way of saying you want me to go out and fail.’ Well, if the alternative to that is staying frozen in your fear, letting opportunities rush past you, then yes – a thousand times yes. I say this not as someone on the sidelines, but as a recovering ‘owner’ who has sat longer than I should have just staring at doors.
So turn a knob.
If only to see that it won’t kill you, but will draw you one step closer to what’s next.
– Matthew Porter
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