EP 291: Reply Hazy. Try Again.

I had a Magic 8 ball when I was a kid.

I wouldn’t say that I relied on it in any serious way… but, when my kid brain was trying to process some big emotions or sort through a sticky situation, I often pulled it out and asked it questions.

Most of the time, the mysterious blue text that would emerge from the dark depths of the ball would give you some sort of definitive answer. Without a doubt. Signs point to yes. Don’t count on it. My reply is no.

But there was another set of answers that just really left you hanging.

The one that sticks out in my mind is “Reply hazy. Try again.”

All things considered, “Reply hazy. Try again,” was probably the most accurate of Magic 8 Ball answers.

You can ask the ball a question. You can shake it vigorously and beg for the answer you’re hoping for. But, in truth, the reply is ALWAYS hazy.

The future is hazy.

It’s unknowable. And that makes taking decisive action to build a stronger business much more challenging.

But we have a choice. We can either fight it–and metaphorically try to shake that damn ball until we have a complete picture of what the future is going to be.

Or we can make decisions based on the information we have, a solid understanding of our goals, and an acceptance of the uncertainty of it all.

Waiting until you have all the answers you need or want is a great way to keep spinning your wheels. While embracing uncertainty might be risky and it’s can definitely be scary, but it’s the only way we move forward.

This month, we looked at 3 different stories of embracing uncertainty. Lou Blaser told us how a big life change allowed her to look at her business in a new way and see how she could finally build the business she’d been dreaming about for years. Sarah Avenir shared how she leads herself and her team through uncertainty. And Cher Hale told us about getting clearer and clearer on her vision for life and business–and the big moves it required of her.

We’re rounding out this conversation about embracing uncertainty today by hearing from 4 more small business owners: Podge Thomas, Melissa Dinwiddie, Kat Lu, and Amy Feierman.

Each entrepreneur embraced uncertainty in a way that allowed them to move forward despite not having all the answers or a guarantee of what the future would hold.

My guess is that you’ll hear a version of situation or question you’re wrestling with right now in at least one of these stories.

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By Tara McMullin

Writer, Podcaster, Producer. Founder of What Works.

Jul 28, 2020

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