The Entrepreneurial Road Not Taken

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”

Just like Frost’s “yellow wood”, life consists of divergent choices, forks in the road. The opportunities presented along the way are endless, and every choice is significant. That doesn’t mean that every choice deserves equal attention. Often, we do not know the significance of choices until we are well down the road. We prioritize and discern, then devote our energy to making “important” choices.

When choices are “equally good”, there is no wrong decision. Once you have done due diligence and narrowed down the options, make a decision then make the most of it. You cannot know where the other road might have led you. You cannot know if it would have been better or worse. Do not waste time, energy, or emotional collateral lamenting the road not taken. Also, less traveled roads are not always better. Sometimes there is merit in the idea of blazing a new trail or following the “few” instead of the masses. However, it is also more dangerous and often lonely. It can be extremely rewarding or ultimately disastrous. There is no hard & fast rule here, and these are the risks/decisions that set entrepreneurs apart from the rest of the world.

The Carbon Method™
Photo by Brendan Steeves on Unsplash

When it comes to business, one of the most significant forks is often missed… the less traveled road is so much less traveled that it is frequently overlooked altogether. Most business owners get into business for opportunity (financial freedom, time freedom, or skills/talents). There is nothing inherently wrong with that. I call this the Carbon Model™. Like the element, carbon, businesses following this model are common, versatile, and nonmagnetic (more on magnetism in a moment).

There is another path, however, and it can lead to amazing places. The Cobalt Model™ is rare, requires extraction, and is highly magnetic. In nature, cobalt is usually combined with other elements and requires processing to isolate. It is also one of the most magnetic metals on the planet. While magnetism is not usually associated with business, it is an excellent analogy for some key concepts.

The Cobalt Method™
Photo by Kira Laktionov on Unsplash

Magnets attract, repel, and generate electricity (power), AND these attributes come from alignment of the molecules. When it comes to business, The Cobalt Model™ likewise attracts some customers, repels others, generates excitement (electricity), and is fully aligned with values, purpose, and an Ideal Destination (vision).

What often happens after a business owner has started down The Carbon Model™ road is they catch glimpses of a purpose/vision in the distance. They try to keep it in sight and take other, well-traveled roads that lead in that direction as new “forks” present themselves. Unfortunately, they also frequently lose site of that Ideal Destination as their road winds ever onward, and they are never really sure if the next road they take will actually lead them to that destination. Specifically, this is the organization that has built success and then realizes the need for mission/vision statements, creates them, hangs them on a wall, but never really incorporates them into their day-to-day operations.

When a business chooses The Cobalt Model™, however, they keep the destination in sight, which means that sometimes they are taking a machete to the overgrowth and forging a new path. Regardless, with the objective in front of them always, they overcome obstacles and cross terrain every day with single-minded determination to reach it. They have built their business around their higher purpose and Ideal Destination. Everything they do in their day-to-day operations is filtered by their strategy.

The beauty is that the “less traveled road” can be taken whenever you decide to do so. While it might be easier to choose Cobalt at the beginning and head towards the Ideal Destination from the outset, it is never too late. Making that transition is possible, but it can be challenging. If you want to take the road less traveled and transition from Carbon to Cobalt, please reach out to me. That’s what I do… I’m a business “alchemist” and can propel you from common to rare and from non-magnetic to magnetic by extracting your higher purpose and Ideal Destination from the passion and calling you have within you (whether you know it or not). And that will make all the difference.