The Courage to Drive Innovation

If you succumb to fear, innovation can be hindered.

In Summary

• Successful innovators do not succumb to fear.

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Innovation is not for the fainthearted – ask any leader who has successfully achieved it. They would testify to the fact that it was a rollercoaster because normally, nothing is in place from the start; everything is in the air. Then, as they push, things gradually shape up and the new emerges.

Why are some leaders able to push through and others fail? What makes the successful at innovation push through the challenges and not give up? What do they know that others do not understand?

It’s simple: successful innovators do not succumb to fear. Yes, fear. This emotion plays a vital role in the innovation narrative. And how fear is handled determines the way innovation is initiated. If you succumb to fear, innovation can be hindered. If you find a way to overcome fear, innovation would flourish. Fear is a factor that cannot be ignored.

Every new idea will stretch you beyond your comfort zone. Normally, new ideas demand more than your current resources. When this happens, people usually panic. They believe that they do not have the resources and capacity to pull off the idea, fear sets in and they retreat; they do not see how they could pull it off. This is one reason many innovative ideas never happen.

Fear disables a person. In the state of fear, normal function is difficult. Some people shutdown or experience panic attacks. Fear manifests in the strangest ways. And generally, it comes with a resolve never to try again. For instance: you’ve suffered several business failures and your mind shuts down to the idea of a new venture because you’ve developed a phobia for risk. In this case, fear has disabled your ability to build businesses.

Only the brave successfully drives innovation. Only those who somehow muster the courage to step beyond their fears make innovation happen. Truth is: life outside the comfort zone is inconvenient – and generally, people don’t like it. But, since innovation is found outside the comfort zone, it helps to be brave in the face of fear.

What does it mean to be brave? It means to have courage – to act on your dreams in the face of fear; you are not stopped or crippled by fear. You feel the fear, but act anyway. The goal of fear is to stop you from acting on your dreams. So, when you feel sick in your stomach and still make that business presentation, that’s courage. And courage is the power that drives innovation.

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