October 31

In his book The Now Habit, author Neil Fiore describes an experiment in which someone is shown a wood plank on the floor and asked “do you think you could walk the length of that plank?” Of course, they answer yes. 

“Now, imagine that I suspend the plank 100 feet in the air between two buildings. Do you think you could walk the plank?”

“No way!” is the response. 

Here’s what’s interesting to me about this scenario: nothing has changed about the technical skill required to walk the plank. If you can do it on the ground, you can do it in the air. What’s changed are the perceived consequences of failure. (Which, in this case, is plummeting to the ground, so I kind of understand!) 

However, I would submit to you that as creative pros we do the same kind of thing all the time. We artificially escalate the perceived consequences of failure to the point that we don’t act. We don’t take even small risks. They seem too scary to us. This is what fear does – it paralyzes us. 

There are real consquences for failure, for sure. But, please make sure that you are not artificially escalating the perceived consequences of failure to the point that it inhibits your creating. 

Don’t allow fear to paralyze you. Refuse to artificially escalate the perceived consequences of failure. 

Question:  Are you “escalating planks” in any area of your life, your work, or your leadership? 

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