Hi, this is Mike Lipkin and I have three words for you: Take It On. Take on the thing that scares you. Take on the person that scares you. Take on the challenge that scares you.
Anyone who tells you that they are fearless is being disingenuous. The future is bright, bold and full of bogeymen. If you’re playing a big game for a big prize, it’s going to be hard. The competition is going to be amazing. The clients are going to be incredibly demanding. The standards are going to be unreasonably high. It’s going to take everything you have and then some.
If you’re lucky, you make a living at what you’re good at. If you’re lucky and smart, you make a good living at what you’re good at. If you’re lucky and smart and always-hungry, you make more than just a living, you make a life through what you’re good at.
Hey, I’ve been helping clients become champions for 25 years. I have worked with over a million people in 43 countries. But in the last year, I have witnessed a whole new level of intensity. Extreme is the new normal. Volatility is the new stability. Low growth is the new high-opportunity zone.
Success takes experience and courage in equal measure. Courage without experience equals naivete. There is no short cut to wisdom. Wisdom is the capacity to use accumulated knowledge, understanding, common sense, and enlightenment to create new solutions to new problems. The magic ingredient is time. Patience is a virtue when its applied in the right measure. We need to watch, listen, learn, act, improve every day in every way.
As Steve Jobs said, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”
The moral of the story is whether you’re Steve Jobs or Mike Lipkin or Joanne Citizen, when you take on the thing that scares you, you turn fear into a resource. You mobilize yourself into action. You strengthen your Champion muscles. You mend your broken wings and fly.
That’s right. The longer you fly, the greater the chance that your wings have been broken. We’ve all flown into headwinds. We’ve hit walls. We’ve had great falls and learnt to put ourselves back together again. That’s what makes us stronger. Paul McCartney gets it right when he sings:
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.
Blackbird fly Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.
“Into the light of the dark black night”. That line was written in june 1968 but it’s more relevant today than ever before. We’re hurtling into the future at warpspeed but no-one has ever been there before. We’re all making it up as we go along. We’re all actors learning our roles and mastering them at the same the same time.
Jeff Daniels, the celebrated actor from the series Newsroom and the recent movie, The Martian, is currently appearing in a broadway play, Blackbird, together with Michelle Williams. It’s a soul scorcher of a story about a relationship between an older man and a younger woman. It’s also the second time that Daniels is playing this part. Here’s how he describes his challenge: “Every actor knows that you can’t run from the ones that scare you. It’s not the acting of the character nor is it the dark imagination it takes to put yourself through all of his guilt and shame. To truly become someone else, you have to hear him in your head, thinking, justifying, defending, wanting, needing, desiring. The more I looked back at the first production, the more I saw what I hadn’t done, where I hadn’t gone. I’d pulled up short, found ways around what was necessary.”
That’s the power of experience. You look back on what you could have done so you can look forward to what you can do. The secret is to run towards the ones that scare you so you can take on even bigger dragons.
What you don’t face will haunt you until you do. So take it on. But don’t take it on alone. Jeff Daniels needs Michelle Williams. I need my partners, clients and friends. I trust them to be there with me when I take it on. Who do you trust and who can trust you to help them take it on.
Of all the things that I’ve shared with you in this video, this one could be the most important: Trust first. Trust fast. Trust strong. Trust others until they give you a reason not to. Tell them that you trust them. Tell them why you trust them. Hold them accountable to your trust. Forgive them when they fall short the first time. Give them a second chance. If it happens a third time, walk away.
I am who I am because of all the people I trust. Every day, I’m trusting more people with the things that matter most to me. And every day, they make me trust them more. I choose my allies carefully and they almost never let me down. When things go south, it’s usually my fault anyway.
This is Mike Lipkin, and until the next time, remember: we are only as strong as all of us together. As you take it on you enable others to take it on as well. That’s how you build trust first in yourself, then in each other. Now, I trust you will have a fabulous 2016. Pass it on.