Doing something disruptive is incredibly bold.
We envision being that superleader complete with cape and superpower that allow us to do what no one else can. We imagine that those who do great things have no doubts, fears or insecurities.
Let’s get real.
You will fail on your way to your breakthrough. You will definitely fail if your vision is disruptively innovative. The only way not to fail is to not try. The only way to be successful every time is to do what you have done over and over. But guess what, that isn’t a breakthrough.
Don’t get upset with me, I’m not trying to rip off your cape. But look at innovators and you will find that innovation is much more of an evolution than a revolution. (I like how Cabane & Pollack phrased that in “The Net and the Butterfly.”) Breakthroughs come from persistent and resilient action. Too often we think of it as a single action and that is not the case.
NASA didn’t land a man on the moon on their first flight. Instead, they responded to President John F. Kennedy’s statement on May 25, 1961 that, by the end of the decade, the U.S. would be the first to land a man on the moon. They could have retreated, saying it was impossible, but instead, they welcomed the challenge. This would be no overnight success, just as no breakthrough ever is. It took a long series of test and flights beginning with Gemini and Alan Shepard. There was no guarantee and there would be a number of failures.
- Unmanned rockets blew up on the launchpad. Rocket after rocket failed. Some might they have lost confidence if they did not set their expectations appropriately.
- Imagine how their confidence might have plummeted when three astronauts died. It was supposed to be a test on the launch pad but in a matter of seconds, the flash fire tore through the capsule. They could have thought it was impossible.
- They struggled to get the Saturn V rocket working right
But on July 20, Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Lunar Module and stepped on the moon. Just 4 days later, they landed safely on earth. Mission accomplished. They had done what no other human had done.
There are countless other innovations and they all follow the same pattern, attempt, fail, attempt, fail, attempt, success. It takes several attempts and several failures to be successful.
Many doubt themselves because they fear failure. As Cabane & Pollack say, we have to factor in failure to the breakthrough process. Once we do, we can be more resilient, overcoming the failures and persisting in the plan to finally realize our breakthrough. Our confidence comes by redefining and forecasting failure so we can build and execute a successful plan.
Take these 3 steps to help overcome your fears.
- See failure as part of the breakthrough process. Any attempt to do what you or someone else has never done before requires trial and error. Redefine failure.
- Study anyone who has had their breakthrough. Look at how many times they failed. Now look at what they did to overcome those failures. Observe to learn how others handle failure.
- Think through your breakthrough idea. Where can you predict failure before breaking through? Forecast failure and build a followup plan.
Breakthrough and Become the Disruptive Leader
I am Dr. Loren Murfield and I work with aspiring and emerging leaders to breakthrough and become disruptive leaders, doing the impossible by changing the paradigm of their thinking and telling powerful stories. If that is your desire, contact me today.
Check out my online leadership platform. Power University
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