What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
This provocative question was first posed by author Spencer Johnson.
Spencer wrote a number of books and perhaps his most famous one was Who Moved My Cheese?
I love this question.
It suggests what hold most of us back is our own internal fears.
And if we could find a way of overcoming these then just imagine what we all could accomplish.
I am reminded of this question in Sheryl Sandberg’s book — Lean In — Women, work and the will to lead.
I quote from her wonderful book (page 24),
‘Fear is at the root of so many barriers that women face.
Fear of not being liked.
Fear of making the wrong choice.
Fear of drawing negative attention.
Fear of overreaching.
Fear of being judged.
And — the fear of failure.’
I could not agree more with Sheryl.
My only addition is that these same fears are also faced by many men as well.
What would you create if you weren’t afraid?
But there is another related and equally important question.
What would you and your team create if you weren’t afraid?
Because in my experience what holds most people back from being as creative and innovative as they could possibly be is other forms of fear.
Fear of making a mistake.
Fear of being different.
Fear of looking silly.
Fear of being alone against a sea of conformity.
These types of fears stop us from reaching out full creative potential.
So we allow our internal voice to judge our amazing, original ideas.
This is such a waste of human potential.
How to overcome this fear
But there is a way forward.
I have found the best way to overcome these fears are to encourage people to think quickly.
By accelerating your thinking you have no time to limit or filter your ideas.
You just create.
I call this approach Speed Thinking and the tool – Ideas Blitz.
This is why in the Ideas Blitz process we start by trying to create 9 ideas in 2 minutes.
People are simply amazed at what they can generate.
For a brief few minutes they have put their fears to one side.
Then through 4 other (optional) steps — enhance, connect, evaluate and action — small original ideas can be transformed into big, workable concepts.
Just imagine what you and your team could create if you weren’t afraid.