English: Rubber duck, Kimmeridge Bay This larg...

This duck assumes nothing.

A few months ago, we were in a wedding. Which is to say that my toddler and husband were in a wedding and that my parents and I were there as toddler entourage. It was an hour or so before the wedding and we went upstairs to do a diaper change. While we were up there, she started playing with this little toy duck that someone had given her.  The toy was for a younger baby so I’d  modified it to make it more appealing to her and part of that hack was some random wedding color ribbon I’d found lying around.

“I’m going to go downstairs real quick and see if I can find out what the situation is with walking down the aisle,” I said to my parents. “They want her to walk down the aisle in some capacity but I just want to know when they need her so we’ll know when we need to be back down there.”

I ran downstairs, found out what I needed to know, and went back upstairs to my peeps. We’re sitting there a while and the little one was playing with the ducks and my mother suddenly sayid, “I just don’t understand why they want her to walk down the aisle with these ducks.”

And I opened my mouth to ask my mother where in the world she’d gotten that idea because, no, she wasn’t walking down the aisle with the ducks and I certainly hadn’t said she was but then it hit me. She’d been watching the baby play with the ducks, saw the wedding colored ribbons on the toy, heard me talking about how they wanted her to walk down the aisle and assumed. And it was a reasonable assumption to make with the evidence in front of her. But it was completely and totally wrong.

This little moment stuck with me and led to a little epiphany. Because I do this same thing all the time, with my business, with my writing, with my blogs. I assumed no one wanted The Seller Ledger and stopped selling it for a while but, when I finally came to my senses and put it back up for sale, I was blown away by the results. I put off writing my weird little vampire Santa Claus play for ages because I thought no one would like it and that play sold faster than anything I’ve ever written. I do all sorts of things on my websites because of assumptions I make about what readers like or not based on absolutely nothing but my own random impressions.

Since I’ve become aware of it, when I realize I’m making a decision based on what amounts to nothing more than a feeling, I stop and do some research to see if the facts and numbers back up my assumptions before I make an ass out of u and me. It’s already made a big difference in how I do business, opening me up to more opportunities and helping me shut down things that my brain thought were a great idea but the numbers said the opposite. In short, it made me start to make decisions, in both life and business, that were informed instead of just emotional.

When you assume, you make up facts in your head to connect things that aren’t really connected.

When you’re letting your personal preferences and prejudices rule, you ignore opportunities because of what they appear at first glance.

The solution? As business people, we spend a lot of time relying on our gut. But your gut isn’t always right and sometimes you are making decisions based on faulty logic.

Augment your emotions with cold hard facts whenever possible to make sure you’re not staking the future of your business in what amounts to a lot of nothing.