Even if you go for it and it doesn't work out, you still win. You had the guts to head straight into something that frightened you. That type of bravery will take you places. ~ The Better Man Project
I once worked for a CEO who challenged our marketing department to think big. She was a visionary thinker who expected the best from everyone in our company, which had over 7,000 employees at the time. Being a newbie, I wasn't sure if this was a rhetorical statement or if this was a true challenge. I’ve worked for others who said the same thing but weren’t able to walk the talk. Veterans on the team assured me that this was a true challenge. I knew immediately that I liked this boss and that I'd walk on nails for her.
Now, marketing teams are known for coming up with some pretty off-the-wall things. Our company manufactured cabinetry and we were passionate about showcasing kitchens and bathrooms in unusual and creative ways. Want your kitchen to be THE showpiece of your home? We made it look like it was part of a fashionista lifestyle. Need space for multiple generations to work in the kitchen at the same time? We figured out how Mom, Dad, Grandma, two kids and dog could co-exist happily and realistically. Trying to show rigorous quality testing? How about putting Labrador retriever puppies in an ad with a tagline that says “lab-tested?” We even produced an MTV-style music video. As long as we honored our brands and remembered that we needed to actually support sales at the end of the day, she supported our creativity.
I had a chance to talk with her once about her perspective on just going for it.
She told me that she'd much rather have us fail trying something bold and new than fail due to apathy. The world had enough status quo.
There were organizational checks and balances that would prevent the company from failing because of one idea that didn’t work out. Receiving that permission was such a gift! We felt free to produce some truly creative work.
Every time I approach something new – a job, a relationship, an experience – I remember my former boss’s words. I might fail, which still scares me. That said, I’m realizing that my fear can be converted into positive energy when I let it.
Having the guts to try something new doesn't mean that fear goes away. It means that the fear is able to be managed in a way that lets me keep going.
And that kind of bravery takes me to the places I want to go.