The wide-angle image above (i.e. tunnel of books) is of a bookstore in China. It occurs to me that while there is much wisdom in books, and the opinions and perspectives of others, there is a point where we all have a choice – an invitation perhaps – to step beyond others’ opinions and choose our own path. The beginning of that path may represent the outer edge of our comfort zone and is reflected in this quote, “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” – Unknown
In this hyper-drive world, and often over complicated life, it makes me wonder whether all that we read and often assume to be true is really all that important. Further, how much of what we read do we actually put into action, facilitate meaningful change or gain value as a result over time? Perhaps the most meaningful book of all (and the story that we author) is the one that we write ourselves.
I had a revelation several years ago that was prompted by a professional inventory. The inventory involved asking myself a simple question. “Among all of the major initiatives that you’ve led in your professional career, how many were truly game changers? How many were good or great? How many were total flops or flavors-of-the-month?” The distribution was about 20%, 75% and 5% respectively. I then asked: “What were the key characteristics of the game changers?” My answer boiled down to three components: “simple, substantive, and sustainable.”
The HPS Innovations Model™ (bottom of page) is comprised of these same components: Simple, Substantive, and Sustainable. The game changer initiatives were all simple (requiring no more or less than essential resources); substantive (research and/or empirically based) and sustainable (enduring results with breakthroughs beyond inertia and the status quo).
The game changers were all “simple, substantive and sustainable.”
Sometimes we imagine seeing light at the end of the tunnel. At other times we may see with tunnel vision. Regardless, we continue on our paths while navigating the inevitable ups and downs of life. Some live as by-standers. I prefer the pursuit of being an up-stander. My professional and personal relationships are rich with many up-standers for which I am deeply grateful. I also prefer the pursuit of the bright light that shines outside of the tunnels. There is plenty of light to shine and share with each other.
“Extreme visual clarity, tunnel vision, diminished sound, and the sense that time is slowing down is how the human body reacts to extreme stress.” –Malcolm Gladwell
Tips and Practical Applications:
- If you ever find yourself on the treadmill of insanity: “Doing the same things over and over and expecting a different outcome” – Einstein, simply STOP! There is a strong possibility that you are experiencing what I refer to (and have experienced on past occasions) as “going circular.” It’s like the phenomenon of being lost in the forest and returning to the place from which you started.
- We are constantly being bombarded with promises suggesting (often subliminally) that this widget, gadget, diet, etc. will change or somehow improve our lives. These promises often include pleasure, prestige, ego, status and a host of other drivers. Remember that most decisions are made emotionally and then justified intellectually. My rule of thumb on big decisions is to sleep on it.
- I believe there is truth in the saying that “Life begins at the edge of our comfort zones.” Have you ever considered why the thought of stepping beyond your comfort zone may prompt fear or discomfort? Could it be possible that it’s simply a negative connotation and there is really no reason to fear (false evidence appearing real)? Could it be excitement and anticipation instead?
Power of Invitational Leadership™
Catalysts for Emergent Innovations
Beyond Inertia and Status Quo
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