What a Month in New Jersey Taught Me About Entrepreneurship
This Task Was Different than Anything I’ve Ever Done Before
Before I deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, I had the “privilege” of attending a month-long training course at wonderful Fort Dix, New Jersey. If you have never been to Fort Dix, be thankful – it has been described before as the “Armpit of New Jersey.”
One day, we were roused out of bed before dawn, and ended up an hour away, in a scraggly forest, blinking with a manual compass and map in hand.
We were told to follow the way-points (locations identified to guide us along the path) and if we reached the endpoint (end goal) located on the map, we could head back to base and get some coffee.
Now, I had never had to rely on these tools before. But really, how hard could it be?
After the second way-point, we were totally lost.
Since I wasn’t ready to eat my battle buddy yet, and I really wanted that coffee, we trudged through the forest scrub for an hour, attempting to dodge mosquitoes and prickly foliage. Eventually, we regained the path and accomplished the mission.
That’s When I Realized We Needed Something More
During our wandering, it was driven home that we didn’t have the required skills or a backup plan. We didn’t even know where we were going or how we would recognize it when we got there.
It was definitely a learning experience.
It was sobering to think that if this situation happened in Afghanistan, I would likely end up dead.
I decided then that the first goal of my deployment was to prevent getting in the situation where I would NEED a compass.
The second goal of my deployment was to learn how to use this tool BEFORE I vitally needed it.
Thankfully I managed to accomplish both of those goals and successfully reached my endpoint. I made it back home safe with the tools in my arsenal.
But How Does This Relate to Entrepreneurship?
Navigating the entrepreneurial path can be a huge challenge and it can be so easy to get lost along the way.
Plus, the tools needed to navigate this journey can be extremely difficult to learn or use properly.
There is no sole way to achieve all of your desired results. While it would be amazing to achieve fame or fortune immediately, each business has its own tempo. And it may not be clear where you are going or how you are going to get there.
You may have different way-points (short-term goals) that you want to hit. Or a completely different endpoint (end result) in mind. However, watch out, as it’s possible to get completely turned around and never see the results that you’re looking for.
Strategy Can Guide You To Success Online… Or Anywhere
How can you ensure that you reach all of your short-term goals and accomplish your end result?
I’m not talking about some Fortune 500 or 4-Star General strategy here. For now, let’s limit the scope to this statement:
Figure out where you’re going – so you recognize it when you get there.
Break it down into five steps:
- Identify your end result and why you want to get there.
- Break down your end result and identify the way-points (steps) that will guide you along the path. Describe them. Keep your 3 most important goals.
- Break down each way-point and identify what is needed to reach them.
- Brainstorm and develop a backup plan – you’ll need it if you get lost along the way.
- Revisit your plan every 90 days – life happens and things change.
When I go through this process, the first thing I do is print my handy Strategy Framework (fill out the form below to get a copy!). I take my time, think things through, and write out my answers. Then I pin my new customized Strategy to Success right above my desk – to constantly encourage me to reach my goals.
If you get a little lost along the way – let’s work together to get your success back on track!
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