“This might not work,” is at the heart of all of our most important work, but often we let the possibility of failure put us off, or we make the equal-and-opposite error of not making a proper go of something so that we have an excuse if it falls flat.
Risk is part of the game. Interesting and important problems are interesting and important exactly because they lack clear solutions – if they didn’t, they’d be neither.
Instead of letting the uncomfortable feeling of risk (of embarrassment, of wasted time, or money, or effort) put us off, or treating it as an enemy that we need to avoid or eliminate, what if we treated it as a compass, by asking not “What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail,” but:
“What would I do if I knew I would fail?”
“Which journey is worth it, whether or not I win?”
“Even if the outcome didn’t follow, I’m glad I did it. I had good intent. I brought my skills to the table. I brought generosity to the situation, and next time, it’s going to go even better.”Seth Godin – slightly paraphrased – on the Read to Lead podcast and The Tim Ferris Show
So helpful Stu. I think we often look at things through the prism of ‘what will I lose’ as opposed to ‘what will I/we gain’? That it’s a risk NOT to make certain decisions. However, the tangible sense of what we might lose often trumps the intangibles of what we might gain, and so we trade the possibility of something better for the greater certainty of the status quo. How can we take more risks? What will we lose by not risking? Good stuff…