How will I stretch myself in the coming week? Even if I might fail,
what will I do to continue my learning and growth?
WHAT IF? Consider the power and challenge of that question. Make it personal and it becomes more powerful and more challenging: “WHAT IF I …..?
Great things can happen when we take risks. The same-ol’-same-ol’ happens when we play it safe. And we can argue that “playing it safe” is anything but. In a fast-paced and ever-changing world, if we play it safe, we might as well pull into the rest area and watch the others speed by on their journeys. We can be content in our safe place out of the potential pitfalls of the road.
Is that what you want?
Last week I helped facilitate a night of professional development for FSCJ’s adjunct faculty. Called the Edison Effect, the evening focused on the power of stretching our limits even when failure is a real possibility. We had lively conversation as well as time set aside for reflection. The bottom line: We encouraged those in attendance to step outside their comfort zones and commit to do one thing new/different/risky this term.
Rather than risk-aversion we encouraged risk-taking. Not foolish risks; nor risks that would hurt another being. Risks that would move them to challenge old assumptions and redundant actions.
Of course, this not only takes chutzpa on the part of the risk-taker it also requires a leadership team that encourages such action.
The center piece at each table represented products that evolved out of what initially were considered failures—or at the very least, unexpectedly came out of a process aimed at developing another product. An accident that led to a greater success than imagined. Post-it notes, chocolate chip cookies, the slinky, and potato chips were some of the items.
A recent Google search found the following:
- “Failure is not an option”—422 million hits
- “Risks bring success”—182 million hits
- “Failure is an option but fear is not”—4.5 million hits
Lots of talk. What are we doing about it?
Video recommendation for the week:
Let’s hear from a big loser!
FailCon, an inspiration for me, simply states that it “is a conference for start-up founders to study their own and others’ failures and prepare for success.” Failure leads to success.
In A More Beautiful Question the author posits that those who always have the answers—the so-called “experts”—are merely people who have stopped learning. Perhaps for these “experts” failure is no longer an option.
What if we keep learning? By stumbling along as we find our way. Not playing it safe because we might skin a knee.
Samuel Beckett wrote “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Why not fail fast and fail forward. Again and again.
Your homework: Take a five-minute reflective break and write your response to the following:
How will I stretch myself in the coming week? Even if I might fail, what will I do to continue my learning and growth (professionally and/or personally)?
Indeed, WHAT IF I…?
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(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.