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Hearing Voices

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This story appears in the April 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Are you possessed? No, I don't mean by the demons that enabled The Exorcist's Regan to turn her head a full 360 degrees. But I have a theory (previously unspoken) that most successful people are possessed by some force (or spirit, if you will) that drives you toward your goals. Sometimes this can manifest itself literally as a voice in your head. Or it can be just a feeling you get in your gut that leads you in a certain direction. However your possession manifests itself, it's important to pay attention. Too many of us are so fixated on the real and tangible that we ignore the more ephemeral, though it can lead us to the answers to our questions and challenges.

Now, I'm not telling you to go on a retreat, head for the beach or take up meditation or yoga. (Not that those are necessarily bad suggestions, but I, for one, am incapable of clearing my mind.) Frequently the best solutions come to you when you aren't even actively seeking them. Suddenly a "what if" pops into your head. The key here is to not ignore the niggling thought, but to play it out. What if you lowered your prices? Would you make more by selling more? What if you changed your marketing message? What if you targeted an entirely new audience for your products and/or services? What if you teamed up with a partner or another business for easier expansion? You get the picture, right?

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