How to Decide – Know vs Figure

[ New Distinctions for Entrepreneurs – Part 9 of 12 ]

When, as an entrepreneur, you find yourself having a difficult time making a decision, it may not be that you don’t have all the information you need to ‘figure out’ what to do.

An entrepreneur is someone who creates from a blank canvas. The starting point is completely different than employment in that there is no predefined structure, vision or goals that the work must serve. As an entrepreneur, these things come from you and you alone. You both create the vision, goals and structure and then you make decisions and take action in service of them.

Where do these visions, goals and structures come from then? Yes, of course they come from you, but where within you? Why do you choose them to be what you choose them to be?

You might come up with rational explanations, but the reality is that a large part of this is post rationalisation for something that bubbled up from your unconscious. As an entrepreneur, most of what you create was initially received by you in some emotional or spiritual way. You heard the whisper of an idea and you followed it, nourished it, gave it some light and as it grew and you came to know it better, you put even more attention on it.

Despite starting down this path, entrepreneurs often get themselves to a point where they stop acting on things because it ‘feels right’ or because it seems curious or interesting to them. They start off down the path of their entrepreneurial pursuits that way, but then with a little bit of success, they begin deferring all decisions to rational analysis. The fear of losing what you created has you reaching for reason at every turn.

Your decisions process devolves from one of exploring possibilities to calculating probabilities. In doing so, you improve the quality of your success, but often at the cost of it’s quality. What filled you with a sense of aliveness becomes burdensome. Like the romantic partner who starts off as the apple of your eye and then becomes your greatest annoyance.

The thing is though, your partner didn’t change. Not much anyway. What changed is how you looked at him or her. You lost that perspective of wonder. You gave it away and replaced it with analysis and judgement.

This is how we kill our decision process as entrepreneurs. Once we begin to build something, we stop acting from our deep sense of knowing. We stop allowing ourselves to move intuitively in the direction of that which calls our spirit. Instead we begin to micromanage our decisions. We insist to ourselves that we must ‘figure out’ the correct and best answer to move forward. There is too much at risk. Too much we might lose.

We forget that not long ago there was nothing to lose. That it was from this nothing that came everything we now have. That something so wonderful came from nothing, not figured out the as the best things to do, but because we acted from a deep knowing about what our step or directions were called to be without knowing what might happen.

Acting from a deep inner ‘knowing’ as to what is true for us to do, paradoxically requires us to embrace not knowing what will happen when we do. It’s knowing that we must turn left without knowing what we’ll find when we follow that path.

When as an entrepreneur you find yourself having a difficult time making a decision, it may not be that you don’t have all the information you need to ‘figure out’ what to do. It may instead be that you have stopped trusting your deep knowing as the place you make the best decisions from.