This morning my 16-year-old daughter Anna took the road test for getting her driver’s license. It was a bad day to drive, let alone take a driving test — overnight we received 4 inches of snow, which means we now have more than 3 feet of snow on the ground.
Anna and I arrived at 8:25 a.m. at the Department of Motor Vehicles office, which is located in the National Guard armory in Owatonna. Anna and the instructor left the office for the driving test at 8:38 a.m.
I sat in the armory hallway, nervously waiting for them to return. I sent a text to my wife:
“I have no idea if she’s going to pass. I’m going to guess she doesn’t. Hope I’m wrong.”
My wife: “Not pass because of the roads?”
Me: “Yes. The roads will make it a challenge.”
The instructor returned after about 20 minutes.
He stopped and said to me, “She did really well with observation. Even at a green light, she looked both ways in the intersection to see if there was traffic. Observation is more important than the maneuvers or anything else.”
“Really? That’s great…Did she pass?”
Observation vs. Maneuvers
Right now, 8 hours after Anna’s driving test, I’m pondering the instructor’s comment: “observation is more important than maneuvers.”
Is that also true for the solopreneur life?
Let’s look at the definition of observe: “to watch and sometimes also listen to (someone or something) carefully.” In your solo business, careful observation means knowing client (or customer) ambitions, goals, needs, fears. Observation often takes the form of research. Observation requires that you ask the right questions and listen carefully to the answers.
The maneuvers of solo entrepreneurship are things we do with our skills: writing ads, making presentations to prospective clients, planning product launches. All those things are important, but careful observation is the foundation for success.
It’s through careful observation that we begin to form strategies and decide tactics. If we don’t take time to observe, then our business maneuvers might as well be done in the dark, because their only chance at success will be pure luck.
And yes, Anna passed her driving test.