Guest post by licensed Right-Brain Business Plan® Facilitator Amy Egenberger
Ever been walking along, minding your own creative business when a sharp turn appears?
The other-than-linear path of an artistic entrepreneur (like other human beings, too) can be a challenge to navigate. Do you feel like you are forging a brand new path, making your way one step at a time like trudging through the jungle with a machete? Or, do you believe you are on a pre-destined or pre-paved trail and your job is to stay on track?
It’s important to recognize a wise turn when you see one.
While hiking in the hills around Sedona, Arizona early Sunday morning, the trail upward took several sharp bends back and forth. Heading east, then the trail would flip back west. But was still progressing forward? My feet knew this. Even my mind knew this, but my heart needed to be reminded that this was not “one-step-forward-two-steps back.” The dream is still ahead, and despite the series of flip-turns, the path would lead toward it.
Lately in my business I’ve been heeding the switchbacks. I felt a call not long ago, clear as a bell, to step into a new aspect of my business, to lead and develop a whole new division. With energy and quite a remarkable measure of certainty, I moved ahead into new territory, co-creating with others, and we seemed to be on a roll. Then, rather suddenly, I knew I needed to change directions. To step back and shift trajectory is not always easy or expected, and to others can appear to be a downright about-face. Now I’m learning to identify and appreciate what is merely a switchback.
How do you know the difference between a switchback and a setback?
First, a setback may be a tumble backwards down the very same road you just traveled. A switchback, however, is not the very same road you just stepped; it’s up a level and you are still headed the way you were going: up.
Secondly, it may just be a matter of perspective.
Lesson reminder? Don’t panic. When projects or efforts toward your dream seem to take a 180° turn, or seem to set you back, check it out. From a broader vista of the whole proverbial mountain, are you simply on a switchback? Such a winding line ultimately makes the climb easier, less steep, less dangerous and definitely more doable.
I encourage you to pause and take note. Is it time to switch back…
- to your core vision and values?
- to an earlier passion or project?
- to re-gather your skills and talents?
Any such turn just may be a natural and necessary bend in the road toward your goals.
If you are one who likes the steep slopes with intense scrambling and white-knuckled experiences of traversing nearly vertical ascents in building your business, then I say go for it! But, if you are seeking the peace of mind of a more steady, sure-footed way, you can opt for a switchback any day.