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Fearless Development


In a world where the answers to most of our questions are at our fingertips, one in which we’re often overwhelmed with the need to keep up with technology, are we trying to be too perfect? Are we cruising blindly through the process in an effort to reach a mythical goal of perfection, and losing the lessons along the way?

No one is perfect at anything. Nothing in nature is perfect; in fact, it is often the imperfections at which we marvel – think of a tree that has intertwined trunks, or a delicate flower growing through the cracks of a concrete sidewalk. Maybe it’s time to stop striving for a perfection that not only cannot be reached, but which not be the best goal anyway.

In our leadership development work, our clients participate in an exercise in which they draw a timeline of their lives and look at the areas of growth. Usually, these areas of growth in our lives, besides the college years, are times of big or forced change; a new job, adding children to the family, a loss of someone special, etc. Interestingly, during those times of huge growth, we seem to forego the search for perfection and instead focus on simply putting one foot in front of the other; we often recover from mistakes easier and more effectively during those periods. In essence, our “bounce back” time is quicker when we’re not reaching for perfection, leading us to more adaptability and creativity and, ultimately, the ability to work outside our comfort zones.

How can we look at our current development in 2017 – what we need to learn and adapt to through a lens of being fearless and providing higher impact? As the saying goes, “What got you here is not going to get you there.” This vision begins with experiments, looking at new ways to approach our development with the intention of impact. We all want to make a bigger impact – to reach others and impact our teams and organizations – so start small and stay steady. In a world of immediate access to answers, we may also begin to expect immediate results in our development – but we need to stay the course. Growth comes from the journey, not the destination.

Our biggest attributes and skills as leaders and in life are not defined by our degrees or work experience. They are found in our ability to be fearless – fearless to make mistakes, and fearless to experiment with our conversations, actions, and development, coupled with time to reflect on what worked or what might need improvement.

How would you experiment being fearless with your development today or this week?

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