“Adapt or die…”
It’s a pretty dramatic statement. I think we can all agree on that.
(It also conjures up mental images of Liver-King-Adjacent Crossfit bros throwing tires at each other to improve reaction time.)
“What’s the #1 skill entrepreneurs need to succeed?” is a popular question on these internet streets.
And of course you need talent, smarts, sales skills, a great brand, a clear POV, strategies to keep cash flowing, and a sixth sense for what your market might want, etc. etc.
But from where I sit? I think the real key is adaptability.
Folks Who Stay Light on Their Feet Win the Day
All the talent and strategy in the world are no match for a landscape at the mercy of algorithms, privacy laws, the global economy, advertisers, and whichever “What’s this button do?” move Elon Musk has decided to make today.
“What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow” has become a mantra for most of us— and a reality that’s picked up extraordinary speed in the last few years.
And, over and over, I see the folks who stay light on their feet win the day.
But how do you balance that with the fact that sales, strategy, and creative work itself all require consistency to function properly?
The key is this: you need to treat adaptability like a skill worth cultivating BEFORE you need to use it.
Think of it like a fire drill. It’s annoying to do, but if a REAL fire happens one day? You’re gonna wanna know where your closest exit is — otherwise, you’re sprinting in circles in a panic.
Adaptability Is a Skill You Gotta Train
And so, here are a few of my favorite ways to do just that:
First, get comfortable with the reality that, even if you’re BRILLIANT, your initial strategic and “sales plans” will rarely survive first contact with the market.
You need to learn to be OK with being wrong and remember that, at least initially, you’re just taking your best guess.
Practice approaching everything with curiosity over ego.
It’s the difference between “Oh weird! That didn’t work, but this did!” And “Omfg I‘m a fraud and a failure and I’m doomed.”
Second, STOP building your offers so heavy from the jump.
Wait for Data Before You Go All In
If you wanna sell something new, DO NOT set up the dang funnel first before you’ve moved a single unit.
Sell direct to people initially, and WAIT til you have data to build things like a sales page and sequence.
Beyond just effective strategy, you need to figure out if you even LIKE what you offer. Give yourself time and space to adapt to what you learn, and what works for you.
Third? Study a little history.
The Path to Greatness Is Rarely a Straight Line
It doesn’t have to be related to your field or industry — just turn on a podcast, watch a documentary, or pick up a book about anything or anyone that interests you.
There’s something fascinating about how truly random life can be, and has always been. The path to greatness is never linear.
Learning about all the ups, downs, and in-betweens that make our lurching path toward progress possible can help orient you around where you are now, and remind you: the best is very likely still to come.
Fourth, become deeply trusting of your own “what’s working” & “what’s not” signals.
Focus on How Things Are, Not How They Appear
All too often we find ourselves responding to industry trends and concerning ourselves with the ways we want to be seen — instead of tuning into what we actually want, and/or what our business and market needs.
When we focus more on the way things ARE, rather than sweating how they might APPEAR, we build the confidence needed to make the hard (and easy) choices.
No one spends all day in your business the way you do. Don’t let a meme or think piece tell you different.
And finally: have something (preferably many things) NOT work-related as a source of validation & joy.
Find Sources of Satisfaction Beyond Your Biz
The line will not, and cannot, always go up and to the right. The spotlight will not always be directly on you. Change is the only constant, to all things there is a season, etc.
So having sources of happiness and satisfaction beyond your biz — creative pursuits, family, travel, hobbies, etc. — keeps you adaptable, because your self worth no longer hinges on ONE ever-shifting thing.
And it gives you more space— and energy — to change.
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