Making decisions is difficult. This is our daily lot. I have several articles on the subject. I use my stoicism grid for “big” decisions. My personas guide me in the creation of my product. I call on my network, my mentors, my friends and family when I feel lonely. Being an entrepreneur is a pretty lonely job.
And setting up a company raises a lot of questions. From the most trivial: “What word for the payment button?” to the most strategic: “Should I stick to French-speaking Quebec, or target the French and English-speaking world?”. I can’t ask my support network for their opinions every 15 minutes…
When I was an employee, it was the same. Wanting to do the right thing, I needed clarification, suggestions or directions. And the people involved weren’t always available. How often have you had a question for your manager this week? And how many times have you been able to talk to them?
- Can I hand in the document on Friday instead of Wednesday?
- You said to inspire the team with the presentation, but how inspiring?
- In the report, would you prefer me to group by sector or by product?
- For the dashboard, what information do you want to see first?
- Why do you want me to have John review the document?
Beyond the imposter syndrome and the constant questioning, some questions are legitimate. Understanding needs helps you be right the first time. We usually find the answer when the person is not available. But here’s a technique for when that’s not the case.
My imaginary mentors
As an entrepreneur, I rarely have a mentor, another entrepreneur or a friend available to answer my questions. But I still ask them. When a question torments me and I know who could help me, before picking up the phone, I conjure it up in my imagination. And I ask them my question… How much does this product cost? Should I attend this event? Is my new web page clear? What do you think of my pitch?
Instead of going round in circles, I ask Rudy, a challenging mentor, Tania, a caring friend, Pauline, a committed visionary, Richard, a seasoned marketer and of course André, Armand, Camille and Stéphanie, my customer personas. These neutral people give me different perspectives, and I imagine their answers. These are often questions, and a few reminders of past decisions or known theories.
For me, this technique works well, as I visualize and hear this person talking to me (and sometimes getting annoyed).
Other ways to find the answer to your questions
With conversational intelligence, you have access to a discussion. Whether it’s a neutral person or a celebrity, it’s all about discussion and reflection. I’m not convinced of the result: the answers were generic and lacked personality. But the idea is to broaden your perspective to look further and find the best solutions.
You can also use self-coaching. It cosnists of asking questions to yourself:
- What is the impact of my request?
- What is my goal, what is my ambition?
- Why do I need this information?
- What do I think?
If imaginary friends help children to develop harmoniously, I’m convinced that imaginary mentors contribute to our own development. Who do you turn to when you have questions?