Today’s “Why Didn’t I Realize That Before” Moment

Oct 28, 2018Stories, Video


Yes, you have to have the ability to take the next step, but if you are like me and terrified of taking the next step because you don't have the big blueprint, then step back and build your blueprint and then go MAKE THE BLUEPRINT HAPPEN.

Hello, hello, happy Sunday. I hope you're having a great weekend. And I just got the little down for his nap, so if you hear that static in the background, it is my sound machine to let me know if he wakes up. We went old school monitors, which is sound because I bought all the fancy ones and none of them worked for me for one reason or another. Anyway, the $14 audio beat the $300 special special ones, like three different ones. Anyway, that's parenting. And so as I was putting a note, I was thinking about what I want to talk about and my back story and right now I'm actually at a very interesting phase of my business and I think it's been really a struggle for me to figure out a lot of what's going to happen next.

And if you listen to my original story, origin story of how I got here, I went through a lot of businesses to get to the successful business that I'm in right now. And this business that I'm in right now is changing actually. So my business partner and I are amicably- I can't say that word- splitting up. We both just… there's a lot of things that we want to do and we don't want to walk down the same path anymore. And I think that for him and we both, like we've been holding each other back a little bit and he feels this way too.

So I'm excited on this journey but I'm struggling because in our business, I normally am the structure person and he is the salesperson. So he makes sure that all the marketing is on point, the sales messages, the hooks, the angles, everything that you need to market and get people to actually click and buy. He does that. And I helped fulfill. He does a lot of that too. Don't get me wrong. But I also take care of things like the HR and the finance and all the software and things like that- sort of the structures. Any system to fulfill something that's more of an ongoing thing, not just like a one time product. So, I've been struggling because I've had this vision of this path for me, but it's not been really clear. And I think probably… I don't know if you can relate to that.

And it dawned on me that a lot of times I just take the next step. That there is a next step, but I feel like I've been doing that long enough and I just have this nagging feeling that I was missing something. And then I was sitting here. I was thinking about, I actually took a break from my programming career to go help my dad, who is a brick mason, go build an elementary school in Kansas. He got double booked and he had to build this huge church and a school at the same time. So he's like, “Hey Monica, can you go run the crew in Kansas?” Okay, well, I grew up around construction and blueprints and on the job. I used to help my dad and carry the bricks and mix the mud and do all that stuff when I was a little bitty.

And so I was like, “Yeah, sure I can do that.” So I get after this job site and there's a general contractor. So you probably don't know much about construction, which is fine, but you do know what a building looks like, right? There are walls, there's a foundation, there's a door, right? There's stuff on the inside, there's heating, there's plumbing, there's different parts, right? And so the general contractor is the person who makes sure all these parts come together to match the plan that someone drew, which is the blueprint, right? So that's the blueprint, which is why, a lot of times we'll see the blueprint and the blueprint is really great because it gives you the map. Well, the reason that it didn't phase me to move from software development to construction was because it's incredibly similar.

In software development, we have this method of building software called ‘waterfall', which is where you build all the requirements upfront, which is sort of like building a blueprint for a house or building. So you basically say, “This page does all of this and this page does all of this and this page does all of this and this is how it looks.” You spend a lot of time upfront designing it.

And then there's this other methodology called ‘agile' which gives some design, but it's not necessarily the whole big picture. It's like you create what we call backlog and you keep the product manager, that's who actually builds the blueprints in software development. They build out what we call the backlog- feature, feature, feature, feature. And then the software development team- there's a whole system around us- but there's certain kinds of meetings and you take stuff to the backlog and into what we call ‘sprint'. And it's a great methodology but what I found in software development was that, you sort of have to have a match of both.

If your backlog isn't super clear, then the team that's actually building it doesn't really know how to plan for the future. And some people would argue with me and say, “Well they don't need to, they can just rework it all.” But the reality of a long time that I've spent coding is that you need a mix of both, right? You need to have a bigger picture for at least the next six months plus that ability to adjust day by day, which is what the agile gives you, right? So in agile one of the concepts is a daily stand-up and if you think of daily stand-up, it probably came from software but probably came from somewhere else. To be honest with you, I don't remember but that's where I know it from. The daily stand-up allows for real time changes. And so because stuff happens like the same thing on a construction job, right? So, at the school we were building, we came onto the site one day and they're yanking up the concrete. And I was like, “What in the world?” This concrete has been poured. The foundation is laid and now they're yanking it up. This is an expensive, expensive thing. And I was like, “What's going on?” And apparently the plumbing went in wrong somehow.

Now, I don't know whose fault this was along the way but somebody made a mistake. I don't know if it was the architects drew it wrong, the plumbers implement it wrong. I don't know, but I just know there's this huge mistake that's made and so adjustments have been made all the way down the line for it. It changed our schedule because as the brick layers we were laying blocks but it also changed the concrete guys, just everybody else, like this trickle effect. And that's what happens and that's what the agile ability gives you. But unless you really know where you're going, this sort of waterfall method or the architecture and the blueprint, then it's hard to be able to adjust because you don't know where the end goal is.

And what I realized was that I haven't built my house plans. I haven't built my business house plans. I have sort of been a little too agile and be like, “Okay, this is my one next step and this is my one next step.” And I think that a lot of things got in my head because a lot of gurus have been saying that and I don't disagree that you have to take the step. I just feel like unless I know where I'm marching to, I don't want to just be like, “Oh, here's a step, here's the step and I'm going to go over here or over here.” That feels so stressful to me. So, I am going to take a step back and build the blueprint for my vision of what I want. I know who I want to help. I have a general idea but it's time to build the six-month road map that I can march to. And don't get me wrong, I mean, stuff changes. Tactics change. You got to figure out what's working. And the messaging that you think that's going to work isn't going to work. All this stuff, I know that and that'll be the agile part, but you need both. Yes, you have to have the ability to take the next step, but if you are like me and terrified of taking the next step because you don't have the big blueprint, then step back and build your blueprint and then go make the blueprint happen.

Think of it too, maybe like travel, right? I'm sorry, this just popped into my head. So I was working at the Knot, I was out of vacation time, but my friend was like, “Hey, do you want to go to Oktoberfest?” And I was like, “Heck yeah, like in Germany, okay.” I was living in Los Angeles so I had to get to Germany and this was back in the days of Myspace and before smartphones. So, I had like a flip phone and he'd been working in the Middle East and we were high school friends and just hanging out online. And so he's like, “Well, I'll meet you there. I'm traveling. I have time off on me there.” He's like, “I got the hotel room booked.” I was like, “Great, here's my flight details.” So I get to the airport and the last message I checked before I left my house was him saying, “Hey, I booked the hotel wrong, don't worry, I'm handling it.”

Okay, so I'm going to get on an airplane. And I'm like, “Well, I don't really know where I'm staying but I trust this guy.” And he'll figure it out. Right? So then, I get to the airport though I realized that I don't have his phone number- because looking back I'm an idiot- but then I was like, “Oh I can get hold of him on Myspace.” But smart phones weren't a thing so I couldn't really do that on the go like we can now. And so I was like, “Well I don't know his phone number.” And then my flight was delayed. I had a connection at Heathrow to get to Munich and my flight from Los Angeles to Heathrow was delayed, which would put me on a later Munich flight, but that Munich flight will be on time.

He was supposed to meet me at the airport. I was like, “Hope he waits on me.” I have literally no way of letting him know. So everything had to adjust. I knew I was going to Munich and that was about it because at this point I didn't have a hotel, I didn't have a friend to meet because I didn't know if he was going to wait for me, because I didn't know how many flights late I was going to be and I was like, “Okay, well, how am I going to handle this?” Right? And that is entrepreneurship- you have a path you're going to get to this place, but let's find a bazillion ways to make that not happen. And then just how do you handle that? So, that is entrepreneurship.<

And so I think that, one of the reasons I never doubt that I'll make it, is because I know I'll figure it out and I know that because I've been figuring it out for a long time. And so in this particular example, I hunted down some internet access, found the phone number for the Munich airport and had him paged, literally over the loudspeakers, paged in the Munich airport. This is so nice of me, right? Because that terrified him. And then I looked around and I saw this table full of dudes with a big map out and I kind of glanced over, because my flight was delayed so I was at the bar at this point, and I looked over and I was like, “That looks like Oktoberfest!” So I was like, “Hi, I'm Monica, are you guys going to Oktoberfest?” And they're like, “We are”. And I was like, “Hey, so here's my situation…” And these guys were like, “We got you. If you don't have a place to stay, we'll make room for you.” I'd literally had met them for 20 seconds. We all were like in this thing together.

So, at that point I had a place to stay, I still have a flight to go and I was trying to let my friend know the best way possible; of course I also sent a message on Myspace, but you know, Myspace. And so, we all fly together right to Munich. And then luckily, luckily he, my friend Ted, waited on me and he's like, “Okay, we've got this hotel, we're good.” And I was like, “Oh Thank God.” Because, you can't fly to one of the biggest events in the world and not have a place to stay… or you can, because that's how life goes. But that story is just one or may one of my little bit of a crazy story. I don't recommend anyone do that. If you're traveling with somebody, have their phone number but if need be, you can get them paged.

So whatever you're stuck on, I just encourage you to find a creative solution and just take the next step. But take the next step towards your end goal. If that's Munich, whatever your blueprint is for your house or your business, take the next step and be able to deal with the challenges that come up because that's what happens.

So I would love to hear if you had a challenge or if you're in the middle of one right now, like, I am. I would love to brainstorm a solution with you. One that, you can't Google because there's Google, there's a lot of info out there. I would just love to help you in this next step because I'm actually really, really good at getting people unstuck. I think it's because I've done so many things, I can see a lot of different paths to the goal but I just realized that in my business, I haven't created the big goal. I created a couple of smaller goals, but I need a bigger vision. And so I'm going to pray about that and get one. But tell me your challenges and let me see if I can help you unblock them. And I hope you have a great Sunday and I'll talk to you tomorrow.