Archive for October 10th, 2012

Get past the status quo hesitation

That feeling you had just the other day, that’s the one I’m talking about. The hesitation that all of us have felt at some point.  When it seemed so much easier to play it safe and stick with the status quo.

Sometimes it’s a little whisper you hear in your ear.  Other times, a feeling you have in your stomach. The one that asks you: Why change things now? Why risk doing it again? It didn’t work before.  Are you sure you can handle the stress?

But often, this hesitation is all wrong. Too many people hesitating is why we don’t have a critical mass to move the education system forward. It’s why aspiring artists haven’t even started the first line of the screen play they’ve always dreamed of writing.  It’s why most people haven’t made an inch of progress toward the job  that they’ve been wanting for years. Because despite the profound opportunity that’s right in front of them, it’s easier not to do something scary and to stay with the status quo.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand it. I don’t like failure, stress or rejection either.  And I’ve had just as much of it as you have. Even worse, today’s world teaches us to do exactly the opposite.  School teaches us to “do things by the book.” And incentives at work tell you to put your head down and say, “that is not my job.”

On the other hand, it’s only when you decide to try giving it a shot that you have the opportunity find something better.

When a few dozen teachers in Chicago protested the system last month their strikes made noise all across America.  When my good friend Emanuel decided to stop his full time job to work on city issues her cared about, that’s how his campaign for Mayor came together.  When my long-time mentor finally forgot about his (very understandable) setback at work and started being dynamic again, that’s when he became a real leader and today is doing better than he ever imagined. And when you finally decided to say yes to that decision you’ve been putting off … or the decision you may have already said no to, that’s when things finally had the chance to get more interesting.

In short, we all have the natural reaction of hesitating when new things come along.  But often times, things work out a whole lot better when you get past it.

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.

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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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