Simon Terry

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Don’t Hit the Trees. Hit the Hole

How often in life to you achieve an outcome by trying to avoid it?

I am a poor golfer. Quite often during a round, I will be well off the fairway and there will be a tree in the immediate vicinity of my ball.  I have learned one truth about these experiences:

If I line up to play a shot thinking about ‘not hitting the tree’, I will drive my shot straight into it

Stop Trying to Avoid Something

Fear of failure is pervasive in many organisations. Because of our industrial management model and natural human psychological biases we often manage to avoid the downside. Just like on the golf course, the direct result is that we achieve that downside:

  • If you fear losing revenue and won’t play in innovation that might change the composition of revenue, you will be disrupted by someone who is prepared to work on a different model and takes your revenue away.
  • If you worry of the dangers of giving employees too much information, you should consider that poorly informed employees likely end drive your organisation to the same dangers
  • If you don’t trust decision making in your organisation and impose lots of controls on accountability, the exercise of decision making and the accountability in the organisation will be degraded
  • If you micromanage your employees because they might slack off, they will definitely slack off when every you blink or are distracted.

We could go on with the formula of “if [avoidance of X], then [unintended outcome of X]”

Worry Less

Success is not the avoidance of failure. Mediocrity is the avoidance of failure. Mediocrity is the place where you get stuck, unable to learn and grow. Mediocrity is the place where you wait to be impacted by forces beyond your control.

Worry less. Worry and stress is just a present expectation of negative outcomes in future.  All you are doing is ruining the present moment by bringing forward a chance. You are also ruining your confidence and ability to execute.

Focus on the positive elements. Define what success looks like. Be realistic, but inspire yourself with what can be.

Do Something

Avoidance of failure also leads to avoidance of action.  There is a temptation to play safe, to wait and to be sure.

Just Do. The only way to learn is to do. The only way to move forward is to do. Take your definition of success and make the next best move forward to it. Now.

Risk=Reward. You have to start swinging for something. The best time is now.


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