What's keeping you in 'the box'?

We need our people to 'think outside the box'. 

I hear this a lot.
I read this a lot.
I get asked by directors & biz owners
to help their people do this a lot.

And so we should.
As experts, executives & entrepreneurs,
as directors, leaders, freelancing creatives, 
There is no greater task,
no greater opportunity,
no greater advantage,
than developing our ability to
'think outside the box'.


But here's the skinny.

Forget about the studies & stats,
the tips and techniques,
the experts with all answers on how to,
'unlock your capacity for innovation'.


Here's the truth of it.
Let's just call it as we see it. 

You're afraid of what I will think,
about what you create.

You're worried that your idea,
might render you obsolete,
to me

You're terrified that if you really revealed
that silly, incomplete, first attempt
at an 'innovation,
I'd laugh,
then pack up all my love,
and leave.

Make no mistake, 
your self-expression is stifled,
your creativity is clogged,
your ability to 'think outside the box' is stopped,
because of how you feel
about how I feel
about you. 

But it's okay.
You're not alone in this.
I'm scared to.
Of you.

Of what you'll think of my idea.
Of whether you'll laugh at my two cents.
Of how quickly you'll wind back your love for me,
and give it to someone else
who is better, smarter, cooler,
more creative, more fun,
more everything.

Than me. 

Despite everyone's best efforts,
we can't outrun our humanity,
we still can't hack our biology,
we care an awful lot
about each other's thoughts.

The truth is,
the breakthrough innovations
that will transform your company,
the left field ideas
that will skyrocket your career,
the once in a lifetime opportunities,
that linger in the atmosphere of your life,
are being lost.

And as a result,
everybody loses. 

So what can we do?
The obvious answer is to put some
skin in the game.
To put your hand up and to play, 
say yes to karaoke,
and why not to every opportunity,
that comes your way.

But that might be a stretch,
there's a lot we have suppressed.
We've got some ground to cover,
to recover
all of our liberated selves.

So in the meantime,
try this.

Look for those around you,
who are stepping beyond their known.
Who are inching bit by bit to somewhere unfamiliar.
Listen for those that are trying,
that are somehow finding the courage to play,
even when every cell in their body says
'no farken way!'.


Find those people and LOVE them hard.
Let them know that you see them.
That you are inspired by them.
That who they are and what they're doing is magnificent.
That who they are and what they're doing makes a difference.
That who they are and what they're doing makes it easier for you,
to do the same.

Cause remember, 
in that moment,
they're probably terrified,
of you.

When they share their idea,
however messy and unkempt,
they're on a ledge,
naked and alone,
and the best thing you can do,
is let them know,
how much they move you!

That'll keep the conversation going,
keep the group's ideas flowing,
 keep the vibe alive
for sharing without caring.

And over time,
when you're ready to have a crack,
to throw your hat into the ring
and sing,
those that went before you,
will have your back.