Don’t make plans
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”
This quote has really resonated with me lately. This has been an intense year of self discovery, change, pain, growth, business problem solving, travel, family, and talking with people from all different walks of life. One key take-away that keeps revealing itself to me:
Don’t make plans.
Rather than make a plan, perhaps it’s better to “check inventory” so to speak, and determine what it is you currently know how to do and what you enjoy doing. I believe this inventory check can allow you to get everything you can out of all you’ve got.
Rather than focus on what you don’t have, what CAN you currently offer? What are you currently working on that you could take to the next level or expand upon?
Which brings me to the point of this post…
You can’t predict the future.
When it comes to planning for long term things such as businesses, jobs, or relationships, there’s simply no way to predict the future…As such, there’s no need to make a definitive “plan” at all. Making a plan assumes you understand exactly how something’s going to play out. This is why business plans are bullshit. A perfect example is from this awesome talk with Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby.
CD Baby started off as a payment processor for musicians that wanted to earn money via credit card sales. There was no PayPal back then.
His “plan” was just becoming a credit card processor…but then a guy from the Netherlands who had used this service emailed Derek asking “where are your new arrivals?” as if CD Baby was a record store. Derek thought “hmm a record store…”
So much for that “plan”…CD Baby then became the largest seller of independent music on the web.
So now the “plan” is to keep being a record store, right? Not quite. Remember, you can’t predict the future.
They were then approached by Apple right at the start of the iTunes era. Steve Jobs himself asked Derek and CD Baby to be a distributor of all of these independent artists that nobody’s heard of because his vision was to make ALL music accessible on iTunes.
Just like that, CD Baby became one of the biggest digital distributors of music. Even Pigeons Playing Ping Pong uses CD Baby to get their music on Spotify/iTunes/selling physical cd’s etc…shameless plug 😉
“Don’t commit to one idea of the future that you have, but instead, commit to a problem that you want to solve, and then you can stay committed to the problem and continually try to find the ongoing and ever-changing answer…don’t attach yourself too much to any given answer…”
–Derek Sivers, from aforementioned talk
This resonated a lot with my business journey this year.
At the beginning of the year, I had left the band and was on my own for the first time really ever. I didn’t have that much liquid cash to my name. For some reason, I had faith that good things were about to go down, but I didn’t know exactly how or what would happen for that matter.
Somehow I trusted the dots would connect.
I did a quick “inventory check.” For me, I knew how to do real estate deals, but I also knew that I didn’t necessarily have a passion for real estate. I knew I liked solving business problems and helping others is always a plus as well.
So the “plan” was to grow my real estate business.
I also made a simple system to keep track of my incoming business leads back when I was touring with the band. I used existing software that some of my mentors told me about, so it was nothing revolutionary.
I decided to put some videos on YouTube showing others what I put together to organize my business online, and lo and behold, I started getting emails back in late 2014 asking me “can I pay you to set up my system??”
The plan changed to more of a “consultant” for other real estate companies. At the same time, I made a Facebook group as a unified place to answer all the questions people were having about real estate systems and technology. We now have close to 2,000 tech savvy real estate professionals there.
As the volume started turning up about how much time these systems saved people in their businesses, I realized I was in the perfect position to create a system that serves others.
Through my networking, I got to connect with and meet some investors with big online followings. One of them approached me to partner up and sell what I’ve been working on to his following. New “plan”…DO THAT!
Going all in on RealAutomation.biz (what that became) lead to the need for an even better, consolidated system for real estate entrepreneurs…so the line’s moving towards the next dot, and I am now on the verge of launching a full software solution called InvestorFuse for the community we’ve built.
I literally don’t know what’s going to happen next. I can focus on committing to solving the problem, and continually work on the ongoing, ever-changing answer, but there’s no way I’ll be making any business plans any time soon.
For better or worse, life is just always changing. You can’t plan for the unexpected, but you can accept that it’s bound to happen and embrace it when it does.
On my deathbed, I trust wholeheartedly that looking back and connecting the dots will make complete sense, and trusting that feeling makes the uncertainty of what’s ahead a little less daunting.
Cheers to not making any plans, using the force of your intution, and going with the flow!