I recently read an interesting anecdote by Seth Godin regarding ‘Boundary Makers’. When confronted with an issue or opportunity … what is your default reaction (your first reaction)? Are you the type of person who looks for the loopholes or weak boundaries? Or are you one who creates answers or solutions that operate within the rules or boundaries? On the surface it would seem that both (remember, what is your initial reaction) can’t co-exist.
The first tends to look at demolishing the boundaries and starting over or removing the boundaries all together. The other type of person looks to work or create solutions within the existing boundaries or parameters. Which reactionary trait is better? I tend to agree with Godin’s conclusion that either tact can be successful given the drive and initiative of the individual.
I hear people preach to their kids about getting along with others and playing within the rules, etc. Almost preaching mindless conformity as a recipe for success. I understand that all of us need to recognize boundaries and rules, or risk ciaos. However, a better life lesson is to re-enforce (especially in our own mind and life) the critical thinking process AND the courage for taking the necessary action to effectuate the solution or opportunity – regardless of whether that means conforming or not? Critically weighing when it is best to scrap the old and create new boundaries, new rules, new systems, new games; and then in other situations recognizing that consensus and change is built easier when you operate within the boundaries – tends to be less threatening. Both are necessary for true innovation to occur; however, neither occurs without a call to action.
Regardless of your tendency, the real ‘punch’ is how you react to your issues or opportunities. Your success regardless of either one will be determined on how you push and how hard you push that really makes the difference – your personal call to action. So many of us do the first part of the equation - critically think through the issues (or rely on others to critically think through the issues); and then we tend to be more philosophical or passive in our implementation or follow through. We take this ‘wait and see’ or ‘go with the flow’ attitude. I’m still trying to figure out what that really means – yes, I get that life has a natural rhythm (thus ‘flow’). However, an authentic ‘flow’ sometimes doesn’t show up with out initiative and a passionate push from a committed individual. I was emphatically making a point to a friend recently about supporting innovation and buy-in; and I pointed out that leaders MUST recognize that ‘blink moment’ when an initiative could go either way – success or failure rests in that one instance. Do you blink and let the moment pass with out speaking your mind; or do you take action? Leaders and innovators oftentimes recognize these ‘blink’ moments and respond by picking up the rope and pulling with everything they have (they serve others), they endorse, cajole, inspire, and risk judgment from others. Ah, the real message in this Mojo.
So what is your reactionary boundary preference? Do you find yourself questioning the merits of the ‘box’, or just wanting to scrape the ‘box’ altogether and build a better one? Better yet, are you waiting to ‘get in the flow’? Is it time for you to push your initiative, solution, plan harder, or even in some cases to ‘start living’? Do you look for and recognize that ‘blink’ moment in each transaction, initiative or opportunity?
Typically my reaction is to put my head down and just push a little harder. But … then again people accuse me of ‘flying outside the airplane’ more often than not. Or, maybe it is that I have a blind spot for boundaries. As for that ‘blink moment’, well that is an evolution in self learning … I am discovering that when I take my ego out and really listen that moment comes through loud and clear.
I hope you enjoyed the reflection, and take the time to consider how these questions may present opportunities for you today and in 2010. Most importantly, I hope you make it a GREAT day and week!! If you wish to read all the other Mojos written for you, then visit: http://mondaymojo.blogspot.com. As always, I welcome and encourage your feedback and your reflections (please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with me). If I can be of service to you or your friends, please let me know or visit us at http://www.coastalcommunityhomes.com. And, thank you for your continued support and inspiration … each of you are a cherished gift that enriches my life in ways you will never understand … Thank you!! Jim Peys