"I saw a werewolf drinkin' a piña colada at Trader Vic's. His hair was perfect."
If you see a werewolf and all you notice is the cocktail and hair and you have the wherewithal to keep your cool, you've got it right. Why? You know you don't control the situation, and if they notice you, you're lunch.
So what do you do?
In our everyday existence, there are "monsters." They are the things we do not control but think we do. We go to unbelievable lengths to attempt to slay these beasts. Most often we fail. If we do succeed, it's usually pure luck. (That's okay but it's also not your doing, so don't get cocky.)
Instead, focus on what you control, which isn't much. It's important to take ownership of things in life and business that you do control and let go of the rest.
In our business here are some of the things we DO NOT control.
The internet. (All of it.)
All of the Cloud Platforms. AWS, Google, Microsoft, et al.
All hardware: Apple, Samsung, Dell, Google, Amazon... you name it.
All methods of production, programming languages and frameworks, third-party add-ons or plugins. (For everything.)
All web browsers and computer/device-based operating systems.
The people that use our software.
The physical environment in which those people use our software.
And on and on and on. You get my drift. So what DO we control?
And, for good measure...
Our thoughts about our work.
That's it. It's a short and sweet list. All are within your control and all can help slay the "monster." So how do you get slaying?
First recommendation: Change your perception.
It's not threatening to not have control. It's just a passing situation or perceived obstacle. Not really an impediment at all, just a hurdle to get over or around or even avoided. (All methods work just fine.) When all you need is a different perspective, look at problems as opportunities, look at competitors as collaborators, and use Judo instead of Krav Maga.
Second recommendation: Prepare for the best and worst outcomes.
I was recently introduced to the concept of a premortem meeting. As learning mammals, we recently discussed adding this to our process and have put this tool in our prep set. This will help us as a team to better identify what is within our control as well as within the control of our clients and allow us to have a greater deal of cohesion and confidence in our plan.
The third recommendation is the most difficult to implement but the most satisfying when done and done fully: Apply effort and will.
These are the two things that are 100% in your control. Period. Effort combined with will is the ultimate secret sauce. The former you create and the latter you judge, knowing both are transparent in as much as everyone can witness them as they play out. So while churned from the inside, effort and will are visible markers to everyone else on the outside and can effect, affect, and infect all involved. If you need good examples of them in action (or their inaction) think back to your school days when you had group projects/assignments. Enjoy those memories? Probably not if you were the one noticing and then having to compensate for the slack of less-than-committed teammates.
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