Friday, February 22, 2008

Questioning the Technician's Mind

In "E-Myth" Michael Gerber talks about this false assumption that most people who start businesses are "Entrepreneurs", i.e. visionaries who strike out to try new things and build a business with a bold plan. In reality most of us are "Technicians". This means that we know how to do a particular job and we've decided to start a business to work for ourselves, doing that job.

That's all well and good, but those of us who follow that path will never have a business. At most we will own a job. How can you tell the difference? If you have a business, you should be able to take three months off and when you come back it will be doing at least as well as it was before you left. If you own a job, then you just won't get paid for those three months.

The challenge of expanding beyond owning a job is that the Technician is quite happy turning the crank to churn out the widgets. We're very analytical. We tend to color inside the lines. Going outside the lines isn't allowed. Doing that might break something. The problem is, only by coloring outside the lines can we become remarkable. Only by being remarkable in some way will we have a chance to grow and develop beyond just owning a job.

This is a challenge I'm facing right now. While I'm not at capacity right at the moment, the number of my clients is growing at a rate that I probably will be there by the end of this year. It's time now to start thinking about how I'm going to break my current pattern. If I don't do it now, while I have the spare capacity to do something about the situation, then I may find myself trapped by my own success, unable to muster the spare cycles I would need to grow.

One of the things on my list is to spend time coming up with a set of good questions. Tony Robbins, in his book "Awaken the Giant Within" talks about the importance of specifying these questions in an empowering way. Similarly, my hero, Scott Ginsberg, recommends "How" questions instead of "Why" questions. "Why should I expand my offerings" presupposes an option of defeat before I start. I know I have to, so I don't really need to answer this one. A better approach might be "How can I expand my offerings?" This question points to all sorts of things from the products I might consider to how I will find the time to develop these products. This sounds a little more exciting.

I think I can go one better.

"How can I expand my offerings -- and have a good time doing it?"

Wow. When you present it that way, it doesn't even sound like work does it?

I'm going to continue working on my list of questions. When I'm ready I'll share them here.

So, what questions do you ask yourself to motivate and excite?

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