The myth of the Right Answer

It’s out there somewhere.

The Right Answer.  The solution to whatever you’re struggling with.

The Right Answer.  It’s the promise of self-help books, the siren song of marketing gurus and management guides, and the seductive allure of all those online videos selling solutions.

They all profess to have the Right Answer.

And when you’re trying to succeed at something – especially something as near to your heart (and therefore vulnerabilities, not to mention finances) as your business – it’s natural to want to know what the Right Answer is.  How can you do better at creating, marketing, and selling products and services that your customers want and will buy?

But the “it’s out there somewhere” Right Answer is a myth.

Every situation is different.  Every interaction with a potential customer or an actual client is unique.  The amazing, baffling mix that’s human personality and human experience shifts and changes with every moment, based on an enormous potpourri of factors.

Seeking the Right Answer becomes a trap – a trap framed in frustration and self-doubt.  It’s hard and painful when you come across what you hope is the Answer to your situation – and it doesn’t work the way you were told to expect.

Instead of seeking the Right Answer from somewhere outside yourself – an expert, a book, a training program – what if you were to trust your own experience?

Learning from other people has its place, of course.  No one wants to re-invent the wheel if they can avoid it.

But where one person’s wheel is flashy and bright with red paint and carved spokes, another person’s is sturdy and practical.  One person’s wheel might be chrome-plated and polished, and another’s might be softly textured and subtle.

Each of these approaches has its merits, and each of them will appeal to a different audience.

The only true Right Answer is the one you discover for yourself.  Here are a few questions to help you explore what will work for you – based on your experience.

What’s your style?

Unless you’re aware of – and comfortable with – your style, it’s going to be hard for you to get in touch with what will work best for you.

What experience do you want to have in your business – and what experience do you want your customers to have?

The intersection of your style and your customers’ style(s) is where connection happens – and where businesses succeed or fail.

How do you feel?

My heart breaks for people who tell me about their experiences trying to implement a Right Answer that feels all wrong to them.

They’ve been told it’s the solution to their problem.  Or perhaps there are lots of other people raving about this particular Right Answer, so they’re convinced it must really be the Right Answer.

When it doesn’t work for them, they feel as if they’ve done something wrong.  Because if this is the Right Answer and it’s not working, it must be their fault.

But when something doesn’t feel right to you, then it probably truly isn’t the right solution for your situation.  You may be trying to create a behavior pattern that just doesn’t suit your style, or trying to work with clients in ways that don’t suit who they are and what they need.  Either way, it’s your responsibility to notice what’s going on – and make changes.

Your experience is what matters, not the dictates of the Right Answer you’re struggling with.

What’s the gap?

What’s the gap between what you’ve tried and the results (or lack of results) you’re experiencing?

I’m willing to bet that you know more than you think you know – and there still could be expertise you don’t have.  If so, you can close the gap by learning, or by hiring someone to help.

Or you could have a belief or thought that’s creating a perceived gap for you.  That might be anything from believing you don’t know enough, to uncertainty about the value of your service – and many things in between.

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to close the gap without stopping to see what it is first.  But when you know the dimensions and terrain, you’ll know whether you need help building a suspension bridge, enough time to put down a series of stepping-stones, or just a good running start to make the leap.

By letting go of the hunt for a mythical Right Answer, you free yourself to see what’s really happening.  And you give yourself space to experience what’s actually true for you and your situation – to experience your natural strength and the power of your own instincts.

“I know the answer! The answer lies within the heart of all mankind! The answer is twelve? I think I’m in the wrong building.”  Charles M. Schulz, 1922-2000, American cartoonist and creator of the Peanuts comic strip.