Three ways to reframe “I’m winging it”

“I’m not sure how I got here, to be honest, I feel like I’ve been winging it for the last couple of years.” 

This is what I hear time and time again from founders who have built a solid commercial foundation and yet still feel unsure of what they are doing, and even more unsure of what to do next.  

Here’s the thing, most business owners learn as they go, it means that there is no ‘right way’ of doing things necessarily, there’s simply your way. After all, what’s the point of having a business where you put in all the hard graft, take all the risks and are ultimately accountable for your own success, if you can’t do it on your terms? 

That feeling of ‘winging it is an emotional response to what you are doing. There are a few ways of looking at it differently. 

  1. Correlation between ‘winging into and future back thinking – a lot of founders use present forward thinking, it’s based on reviewing and analysing data; there’s a right and a wrong way to do things, according to the data.  

When first setting out in business, there is little data available to you for your needs, you gain business from exploration, discovery creativity, your network and sheer tenacity. That’s the same with future back thinking. There is minimal data available, and planning and decision making is iterative, learning milestones, and highly assumptions driven thought processing is required. You are using clever future back thinking processes, and you didn’t even know it!  

  1. You are the Chief Innovator – congratulations – look at what you’ve learnt along the way, the new skills you’ve acquired and the decision-making processes you’ve used to build your business. You’ve probably changed how you make decisions, and how you think. This means you are a more innovator than someone who is winging it!  
  1. You are growing into your role as a commercial leader – *Herminia Ibarra, a leadership and organizational behaviour professor has noted, “People change their minds by first changing their behaviour. Mind-sets are very difficult to change because changing requires experience in what we are least apt to do. The only way to think like a leader, is to first act …. Those freshly challenging experiences and their outcomes will transform the habitual actions and thoughts that currently define your limits.” 

So, you see, you are actually a Chief innovator, using clever future back thinking and an abundant commercial leader.  

*Source – Lead from the Future, how to Turn Visionary Thinking into Breakthrough Growth by Mark W. Johnson and Josh Suskewicz.

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