One of my favorite Star Trek (The Next Generation) episodes is when the Enterprise encounters a quantum fissure. All of a sudden, Lt. Warf begins to skip among multiple universes. A huge number of alternate realities (including multiple starship Enterprises) encounter each other and confusion reigns – how do we narrow things back down to being on a single (right) track??
Too many options….did you ever look at the world and see an image like the one above staring back at you? Right now, I’m trying to guide my older children into appropriate career/educational tracks, and frankly, it’s overwhelming.
Which is exactly the confusion we often feel in business, as individuals or as companies. What is the right track for us? Where does our puzzle piece fit? What’s our message? There’s a wonderfulness to having the freedom to choose among so many options, but there is a downside as well, as Roman Krznaric puts it in his excellent little book, How To Find Fulfilling Work:
“Being confronted by so many options can be a bewildering experience….the consequence is that we often become psychologically paralyzed, like a rabbit caught in the headlights. We get so worried about regretting making a bad choice that we may end up making no decision at all, and remain frozen in our current unfulfilling career.”
Really, we end up making one of two choices. We cast a wide net and take whatever we can get; or, we carefully define who we are and what we do best, and choose from a much narrower set of options. This includes career choices for the individual, but also encompasses how a business defines its key offerings and clients.
Options are great – if we can apply a method to un-choose most of them based on a clear view of reality!
Related on the blog: Two Reasons Why Getting Clarity Unlocks a World of Referrals
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