Sometimes it's hard to even hear yourself think for all the noise. More than just unwanted or unpleasant, noise can be the very thing that keeps you from advancing as an entrepreneur or innovator. How to curb the noise is advice we don't often get, though it's certainly not for lack of advice out there for entrepreneurs. It's time to sift through the noise and make room for noise reduction. The best news is you hold the key.
Sorting Through The Noise (Even If It's Music To Your Ears)
The volume of counsel out there for innovators and change makers is oceans wide. It falls into several predictable categories. There are tips aimed at you the innovator in relation to others - how to engage them, how to be less about yourself so you see and value others, and so on. There's the managing sort of guidance, the nuggets of wisdom reminding you not to overlook the basic blocking and tackling needed just to stay in the game on your way to making your dream more than just a dream. And, importantly and thankfully, there is a growing volume of insights about how to build culture - a vital and still undervalued category of leadership advice. But, what about curbing all that noise? That kind of advice is scarce. Let's change that.
3 Ways To Bring Down The Noise (And Turn Off The Funk)
There are all sorts of noise, but these 3 sources of noise are more fully in your control and most likely to yield results quickly and ongoing, mainly because they're all in your head. It might help to think of each as a character in your own inner dialog. You'd be wise to keep an eye on each to be sure no one is overplaying their part and well, just causing a lot of noise.
1. Your Hot Mess
Yes, it's attractive. That hot thing of this minute isn't just something we're naturally attracted to (we like novelty). It's the thing we're increasingly encouraged to pay attention to. Blame it on 24-hour news cycles, too many screens feeding you data, or something else, the problem with hot thing is that undue attention to it often leads you into the kind of mess you simply don't need. If there's no link to the larger context of what you seek, if this shiny new object, idea, market, or tip serves no clear purpose, beware. In this day and age you can't be blamed for a little unconscious FOMO (fear of missing out) now and again, but don't lose your larger path and focus.
2. Your Inner Critic
For all its bad qualities, in the context of noise think of this annoying character as that part of you that too quickly and too easily leads you away from your innate curiosity. In other words, it turns you away from goodnoise. We often give our inner critic more airtime than it's due in part because the thing about curiosity and pursuing it is that it can come with risk. The truth is the risks are rarely as big as we anticipate. More, the potential risk doesn't always come to pass. And even if it does, if it's calculated rather than dice rolling risk there's usually a good lesson in it that allows a needed and natural refinement in how you calculate risk the next time and further hone your skills for turning uncertainty into value.
3. Your Hyped Up Hedgehog
Imperiously and often in cahoots with your inner critic is your hedgehog - the term I use in my book The Language of Man. Learning to Speak Creativity to describe the orderly, results-driven, formulaic side of your brain. Let's be clear, you need this part of you as a natural counterweight to your fox brain, aka your curious, creative mind. Indeed all-fox or all-hedgehog thinking is a recipe for imbalance and fleeting productivity. But for most of us the hedgehog tends to take hold faster and with a tighter grip than the fox. Why? Because the world around us, or more accurately the societal part of that world, feels a lot better when things are certain. The truth is nothing is certain (sorry). In fact it's our fox brain that tunes us into that uncertainty and helps us both get ahead of threats and see opportunities. Especially if your goals are progress, innovation, or breakthrough ideas, you need to consciously check your overactive hedgehog, and allow your fox to have a say now and then.
Do other things bring out the noise? Of course. But most often it's one or more of these three noisemakers we all have in residence that has their hand on the volume.