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Productivity / Processes

Is that a gun in your pocket?

It’s not what you’re thinking. This isn’t some lewd piece about risqué topics, it’s actually about the feeling that comes from being forearmed. If you’ve ever envied others who seem to stride into situations with calm and confidence, this is for you.

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Fans of the 1994 gem, Pulp Fiction, will be familiar with the scene where our hapless heroes, played by John Travolta & Samuel L. Jackson, find themselves totally unprepared for a ‘situation’ that emerges.

As this is a family show, I won’t detail the scenario. Let’s just say it made a helluva mess of the interior of their car.

Of course what happened in the film has no direct parallel with the journey of a soloist – well not any I’ve met – but I think I can work the resolution of the situation into a neat little analogy.

Winston Wolfe, a part in the movie written specifically for actor, Harvey Keitel, is the man who in this instance, makes all the problems go away.

"“I solve problems.” - Winston Wolfe"

From the minute he arrives, he oozes confidence. This clip (the only one I could find not full of expletives and bloodshed) gives you a taste. Unlike this one, that very definitely deserves the rull ‘R’ rating.

‘The Wolf’ has been here before. He’s prepared. He knows what to do.

In my working life, I’ve often hankered for a business version of Winston Wolfe and I certainly talk to plenty of entrepreneurs who wish he’d show up – typically with a bus load of hot prospects or a suitcase of cash.

But alas it’s called Pulp Fiction for a reason.

However, in our little businesses, we can get to feel as impenetrable as Mr Wolfe, but to do so takes work. Rather dull work.

If you’re a creative – and I’ll wager it’s likely you are – it’s not unusual to shy away from the very things that allow you to feel calm and confident.

I’m talking about stuff like:

1. Step-by-step task guides

If you upload a blog post once a month and every time feels like the first time, this one’s for you.

The very act of having your own little ‘do this, then this’ instructions, stops you feeling silly and uncomfortable when you tackle the many repetitive tasks that dominate the apps and gizmos world of small business.

Such little things can really mess with our sense of feeling in control and left unchecked, risk influencing the entire day.

2. Key ‘of value’ procedures

In any business there are some things we simply shouldn’t mess up. ‘Starting strongly with a new client’ may be one. ‘Quoting well and invoicing quickly’ another. ‘Sowing seeds for new business’ is likely on the list too.

We know this stuff right? And yet, we still forget or at best, are a little inconsistent.

Write. It. Down. (Or. I’ll. Do. That. Annoying. Fullpoint. Thing. Again.)

3. Your Little Black Book

While finding your very own Winston Wolfe is unlikely, we all need people and services we can lean on and it’s important we know where to go when things look like getting messy.

In our hearts, I feel we know when we’re unprepared and it’s a feeling that has a habit of sticking around in our busy brain, gently, steadily undermining our confidence.

So is that a gun in your pocket or a little, black Moleskine notebook?

Robert Gerrish

is the founder of Flying Solo and helps soloists stay upbeat and energised. He’s recently published The 1-Minute Commute, is a presenter and facilitator and works one-on-one with those needing a refresh. Find out more about his skills and services and his Olympus Trip 35 camera side hustle or connect on LinkedIn.

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