Time to get off the rollercoaster

I’ve never been big on rides.

I don’t do slides, drops, spins, ‘mudders’ or any of the other experiences that resonate with thrill, action and adventure junkies. I don’t think I’ve ever actually been on a rollercoaster, physically. Emotionally however, I have for years.

The feeling of being on a rollercoaster is commonplace for small business owners and entrepreneurs and it’s an accepted and widely used term and analogy. For the past few years I’ve referenced it almost daily, to explain the ups and downs, emotional highs and lows that we experience often multiple times a day.

It’s exhilarating at times, but I’m ready to get off.

Consistently, the regular low, slow points, were punctuated by high-flying peaks that were thrilling, fun and seemingly made it all worth it.

Except there was one glaring problem. I wasn’t really getting anywhere.

A rollercoaster runs on a track. I was going up, then down, I went around, and around. Then, I was back to the start, again.

So, I’m done with it. Not the highs and the lows of my professional and personal life, just the mode of transport.

You know why? If I’m going to experience those bumps, those bruises, the stomach-drop moments, and dizziness, then I actually want to get somewhere.

I’m changing my mindset. I’m changing my terminology. I’m changing the rickety rollercoaster for something that will help me soar to new heights! A rocket ship! 

Mindset shift.

Multiple books talk about the vital importance of small course corrections along the journey of aircraft like planes, space shuttles and rockets, to ensure it reaches its destination. They are constant, and imperative.

Picture a rocket headed for the moon. Throughout the journey it is constantly being pushed by ‘space wind’, ‘space junk’, ‘alien traffic’ (Not technical terms and likely ridiculous, but you get the point), but it continues to recalibrate and focus on the destination. I couldn’t remember the exact piece of equipment that led the Apollo space-shuttle’s ‘course-correction’ so I went back to the book I first heard the analogy to find it. It was a Gyroscope. Very cool. (See below extract from the book, ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olsen).

Course Correction - The Slight Edge

So, this is how I’ll now view what I once called the lows of the rollercoaster, they’re just bumps off course, and I’ll adjust, constantly.

No longer will it be something I simply endure, along for the ride, but rather I’ll consciously choose to ‘course-correct’. If I get off track, I’ll adjust. If something gets me down, I’ll adjust.

All the while, every adjustment will help keep me on course for my destination.

Finally, the other thing about rollercoasters is that the track is predetermined.

Which is fantastic for predictability and safety, and terrible (and rightly so) for flexibility.

On a rollercoaster the destination is set, one big loop, regardless of your experiences along the way. But on my hypothetical rocket ship the ‘sky is the limit’ (this is getting confusing), and I don’t need to settle for the destination I’m currently heading to. Once I’ve reached it I can go further, and then further again. I can’t wait.

Who’s coming with me?



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