I have a little plaque on my desk that reads: “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” This way of thinking empowers me to make difficult decisions every day. It gives me courage to push past self-doubt and try new things. This is the mindset of people who create; this is the kind of thinking that encourages entrepreneurs to take those first few perilous steps!
Recently, I have noticed that there is a bit more of this mojo going around. We went through a period during which we were held back. Now, people are getting out and perhaps even thinking and acting differently. People seem to feel more free to try new things, take risks, and celebrate life. I recently overheard a 50-year-old out on the lake with his family. Perhaps a couple of years ago, he was cautious and filled with worry. But not nearing the end of 2021! Now he is saying, “Oh, I can do a backflip off the raft. I’ve been through a pandemic.”
I want you to focus on this type of courageous mindset and how to apply it more often in your thinking with your team. Being willing to take new risks and think of solutions in creative ways is empowering and can lead to great things. Because what would we do if we were invincible? What would we try? What would we push harder on? Pushing past fear and working on being more courageous in our thinking can result in positive change.
In our weekly L-10 meetings, there is a point where the teams need to bring issues to the table. In EOS, an issue can be an obstacle, problem, or concern, but also a great idea, a process update, or a different way of seeing something. I recently had a call with a talented and enthusiastic Operations Leader at a distribution company. We were talking about the fact that many times, we get caught up in focusing only on problems. He said his team was struggling with bringing up issues, so I suggested that he take a fearless approach.
“Chad, ask your team this: ‘How do we ship twice the amount of items with the same team in the same amount of time?’ If they think you’re crazy simply say, ‘Yes, but what if it was possible? What would we do?’”
We humans tend to limit ourselves too much. It’s natural to avoid risk and do the “safe” thing, but many times we don’t push through and do the deep thinking or the hard tasks because we believe it is not possible, or we are simply frustrated. I do my best not to let my kids say “can’t.” Now maybe this isn’t always appropriate for a 6- and 8-year-old, but the mindset is. I don’t want them to see limits in their lives. I want them to think, “What could I accomplish if I knew I couldn’t fail?” This is a question we should be using at home and work. Let’s not let our lack of courage be the reason that our companies are limited or stall out. What if you could get your team thinking without limits? What could you achieve?