In our businesses, oftentimes we know that we need to make changes in order to become more successful but find ourselves missing the opportunity because we don’t take action quickly enough.
I was reading a great article at Strategic Profits about becoming paralyzed by information overload. We have access to more information than one can imagine, piped directly to us via the Internet, smart phones and netbooks. One no longer has to hope that the local library hasn’t already checked out that book we need, we can just Google what we want to know and we’re given thousands, if not millions of sources where we can learn about our chosen subject.
The problem is, there is so much information that its hard to determine which information we need and what we don’t. There’s no teacher to tell us, ” Remember this, or learn the meaning of that.” .
And like the television commercials for the new Bing search engine, we end up overloaded with information we don’t even need and find ourselves paralyzed and unable to move forward.
Somehow, when we become entrepreneurs, we forget this[do I really need to know this?] survival mechanism from our past. Rather than getting very clear about what we already know and what we still need to know to do well (like we did when we were students), we chase scattered information from everywhere – considering all sources we think might have something useful to share. The net effect is we waste our time, our resources, and our intellectual capital in pursuit of new discoveries. And within the blink of an eye, we become victims of information overload.- Rich Schefren-Strategic Profits
So what’s the secret to get moving again?
What are the keys we need to avoid getting paralyzed and keep it from hurting our businesses? What is the cure for information overload?
It’s knowing and being confident in two things:
- What you know. Spend a little time thinking about those things you already know and are familiar with. Don’t second guess your knowledge. Have confidence in those thing that you’ve learned. Remember, most experts don’t necessarily “feel’ like experts at home. At home they’re Honey, Dad, Mom, Son or Daughter; just like the rest of us. Heck, some of the ‘experts’ don’t even feel like experts at work. Keep the following definition of expert in mind: expert [ek-spurt]- A person with extensive knowledge or ability in a given subject. Notice the definition doesn’t state that an expert knows ‘everything’ about a subject. Remember that.
- What you need to know. Now that you understand what you already know it’s time to determine what you need to know in order to make the necessary changes to your business. The secret here is to be specific. First be specific about what change you are looking to make in your business and then be just as specific as to what you need to learn to get it accomplished.
These two things will allow you to focus on your goal and not get sidetracked along the way. When you find yourself clicking a link you can stop and ask yourself “Is this something I already know?” or “Is this something I must know to accomplish my goal?”
But what if you don’t have a clue as to what you need to know?
That’s when finding a consultant, coach or tutor is a wise business decision. The same way your teacher used to point out what things you should be paying particular attention to for an upcoming test, a consultant points out the things you need to know in order to make your changes successful. They weed out the ‘information noise’ and either provide or show you where to find what you need. Sort of like a GPS for your business project, they can keep you from making as many wrong turns in order to get to your desired destination quicker and easier.
Of course, there are situations where what you want to do doesn’t fall anywhere near your area of expertise. In this case, you need to decide if it’s something you feel is worth taking the time to learn. In many cases, you’d have to learn something you may never use again. In these type of situations the smartest thing you can do is find someone else who can either help you to do it or do it for you. Remember, often times doing it yourself comes with a higher price tag than you realize in terms of your time and the possibility of doing things the wrong way.