Matisse once said that “If you want to be a painter, cut out your tongue." To be sure, it's much easier to talk about doing something than it is to actually do it. But why do we continuously find ourselves sitting on (or talking ourselves out of) ideas?
I'm sitting on two ideas that I've built all the way up to inches from launch. But still I wait. I stall. I hesitate.
I used to blame things like this on a simple fear of failure. What happens, after all, if you put your name and reputation behind an idea that ends up being a dud? What does that mean the next time you try to sell an idea? This risk is omnipresent when exploring innovation.
More and more, however, I'm starting to chalk up "failure to launch" to the fear of success. Think about it. What happens if your idea is a hit? Will you have time for it? Will it take your energy and time away from things you are already doing that you love? Things that pay the bills? Things that feel comfortable?
We talk about ideas because it requires no attention. Blurt it out. Heck, you can even build it out. But until we bring our creation to life, all we have done is create another distraction.
Linda Stone writes about something called Continuous Partial Attention to describe the modern worker's hyper-connected, always on, and always distracted way of life. The amount of work most of us do on a given day is astounding. How much of it, however, is accomplished with 100% focus? Imagine if you could do half the work, but do it twice as well...
In credit unions we battle regulatory issues, financial performance, member service, the economic environment, and a million other challenges each and every day at work, and every other waking hour on our smart phones, web browsers, and weary minds. It's little wonder that we see new ideas as impossible undertakings. It's a zero sum game, after all.
My take? We need to find a way to turn things off. To disconnect. To free our schedules from the hooks of today so we can focus on the future. We'd fear success a heck of a lot less, after all, if we could fit it into our schedules.