Life moves quickly. Do you live in the moment? If you make a mistake today, will you remember it next year? If you play it safe, will you recall that moment 20 years from now? Creating something remarkable within your business can become more obvious when you live the same principals outside of the work. Do something random and wonderfully light-hearted every day. Pay for the person’s coffee in line behind you; eat gummy bears in bed with your children; compliment someone because you mean it. Find passion in everything and once you do, bring it to work.
I work for a broadcast company that, for years, provided local children a much-anticipated day of free fun and games. And each time, the event got bigger and better and local business participation increased and more and more families came to the coveted event. A few years ago, after our biggest, and arguably, our most successful event yet, the General Manager made the decision that we would no longer hold this free event every fall. It was time to do something different. Her vision was to create something with more longevity for the community.
When the decision was announced, the reviews were mixed. There was a ton of time, planning, manpower and money that went in to that one short day that was over no sooner than it began. On the other hand, it was a fantastic free event for families. I asked our GM why she made the decision to find a new initiative. Her reply was that she knew it had run its course and it was time to end it and find something new while the event was at its best.
While it didn’t make sense to some because the event was successful and the station was known for it; our GM was really looking for what Seth Godin calls the next “Purple Cow.”
“If a product’s future is unlikely to be remarkable – if you can’t imagine a future in which people are once again fascinated by your product – it’s time to realize that the game has changed. Instead of investing in a dying product, take profits and reinvest them in building something new.” Seth Godin, Purple Cow
Every day we are faced with projects, initiatives and even policies and procedures that are worked on or followed just because that’s the way it’s done. I would argue that the “Purple Cow” can go far beyond marketing. In this sense, it is really is about challenging good enough. Of course, if you are always looking ahead, sometimes your idea will fail. The alternative is to do nothing and never noticeably fail….until one day, when someone else takes on the remarkable task of challenge and change, which will happen.
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The brilliant thing about brilliant people is that they are rarely afraid of change. It’s easy to read about and admire the constant innovators and leaders out there and wish for the same success in your own life. It’s also easy to, when looking at your own life and job, decide that things are not lined up in the ways that would make the same type of success possible for you. If this seems like a relevant conversation you’ve had with yourself, you are missing the point!
If you can’t find an answer to a problem, stop searching so hard. Blow the whole thing up. Look through someone else’s perspective. Search for inspiration anywhere. If it has not been done before, don’t be afraid of it. Change doesn’t always equal success but it certainly gives you better odds. If your organization is facing a challenge and it seems there’s no good solution, the people leading could be wishing the world is different than it really is. Allocate your time to create the future because the people who are changing the world certainly aren’t just living with good enough.
Right out of college, I bought my first car; a gold VW Jetta. I have always preferred to do things “differently” and at the time, not many people drove gold VW Jetta.
That’s what I thought.
The day I drove off the lot, gold VW Jetta started popping up like Dandelions everywhere I went. I must have been on the forefront of the trend….
Really, I’d been looking at reality through my personal “lens.” Gold VW Jetta weren’t common to me until I had one. People believe what they tell themselves is true.
I try to remind myself of the millions of gold VW Jetta that were on the road long before I had mine. I also like to think of all of the other cars, ones I have not owned, that I still haven’t really noticed but are dominating the roads. Just because they weren’t or aren’t in my personal line of sight does not mean that they aren’t there.
It’s a talent to be able to convince someone else of your point of view. Rhetoric can be powerful and for a while, people may follow. But, it’s often more remarkable to let go of expectations and opinions and to see the many absolute truths, each governing our own interactions with the world. Lots of people drive Green Nissan Sentras too.