Have you ever thought about writing a book, starting a business, planting a church, or quitting your day job to try something different? What’s holding you back? Inc magazine (February 2015) notes that “the default state of the human psyche is doubt, fear of failure, and avoidance of regret. For some reason entrepreneurs aren’t wired that way.” But more of us “see risk around every corner.” Fear holds us back so we dream about what might be but we never take action to make things happen. How do we overcome that fear? One Inc columnist writes that the answer is to plan.
That’s way too simplistic. There is no one answer. Planning is valuable. So is goal-setting. But consider these other issues that have a bearing on our ability to overcome fear and do something new or innovative:
- Personality. Do you have a risk-taker mentality or orientation? Some people will resist stepping out regardless of the plan, goal, or potential. Forcing these people (including ourselves) to take risks rarely works.
- People. Some innovators work well alone, but innovation or goal-accomplishment is more likely in those who work with others, have support, or connect with coaches and mentors who give encouragement, and guidance. Have you ever kept going because somebody believed in you?
- Patience and persistence. Inventions and innovative ideas can be slow to develop. Good books, academic theses and doctoral dissertations usually take a long time to write. It takes years to master a musical instrument, acquire a new language, or develop top proficiency in a sport.
- Possibilities. This week I read a book chapter about the role of luck in innovations and success. Malcolm Gladwell, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates all attribute some of their successes to luck. Whether or not you believe in luck (I don’t) it is clear that some success comes from opportunities that arise, the education or environments that we experience, the innate abilities that we inherit, or from being in the right place at the right time. Christians are likely to see the hand of God in all this.
- Prayer. Never underestimate the power of God to guide or provide what we need to innovate.
Business magazines place a high value on innovation. Maybe too high. What if we never innovate or reach goals, but dutifully use what we’ve got to improve the world around us? Is that failure? Please comment.