Change Catalyst with Shanna Mann: Strategy & Support for Sane Self-Employment

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The Fine Art of “Ready, Fire, Aim”

People often seem to assume that a Systems Fascist (like myself) is by definition terribly strict and uptight and unable to adapt.

It’s actually kind of funny because I’m the sort of person who doesn’t take to habits at all. Most people fall into ritual easily — I used to try to argue my clients out of having their sessions at the same time every week. Surely it couldn’t be the best time for them every week? That doesn’t even make sense!

But eventually I became convinced of the phrase, “Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be wild and original in your work.

Too much flexibility is chaos, and being able to depend on certain things, even though there’s no real REASON for them to have to stay the same is what allows you be iconoclastic in other areas.

The other thing that people assume about Systems Fascists ™ is that they suffer from analysis paralysis— But they don’t, and I’ll tell you why:

The Origins and Causes of Analysis Paralysis

Analysis Paralysis is caused by lack of essential data. Because of course, if you had this information you would be able to act decisively either way.

So if the problem is lacking information— what’s the solution?

Most people do more research. This rarely helps. Because, let’s face it, if your problem could be solved by LMGTFY, you would already have solved it, wouldn’t you?

No, the thing to do when you lack information is to create an experiment that will give you the information you need.

Because it doesn’t matter what the experts think, especially when you’re only reading blog posts and not getting their PRECISE feedback on your SPECIFIC situation– you need to know what YOU need to do, not what the average person needs to do.

Market research is another hole where time goes to die— ration yourself severely.

I Create These Experiments All The Time

An experiment is what I’m doing later this week.

I wanted to build a community and get to know my tribespeople better. I floated the idea to my Mastermind, who told me that the full flavor of Shanna-ness really doesn’t come across in text— people should really get to see my rants and flailings in full technicolor. (I talk with my hands. A lot.)

I tossed the idea out to the illuminati. They seemed excited.

But how to set it up? What kind of platform? What kind of structure, or topics, and whatnot?

The first two I knocked down fairly quickly. The last one, however– there’s no way to know what’s going to work best until I talk with people, until I find out what questions they have to ask, and see whether people are good enough at turn-taking to manage a salon style group discussion on the topic or of it needs to be strictly lecture hall style.

No. Way. To know.

The best way to test the viability of anything is to construct a small-scale prototype. And that’s what the Holiday Office Hours are— a test. It’s the holidays! People are busy, they’re ready to relax. I didn’t go nuts trying to promote it, because you don’t advertise your test rockets— There will be more than enough time for that later. (In fact, I’m kind of excited that it got as much response as it did– that bit of data seems to suggest that my tribe was hungrier for meaningful interaction than I had ever dreamed.)
Too often I see people trying to figure out the One True Way to execute something in the planning stage when they should just start with something that seems reasonable and tweak it when they have some real data to apply. Because — repeat after me— there is no way to know.
Don’t let sprezzatura get in the way of shipping.

Practice the fine art of Ready, Fire, Aim.


How do you practice this art?