“Surround yourself with optimists. Always ignore the pessimists!” – Jim Carroll
Some of the most fascinating organizations in the world have brought me in to encourage their people to think about the future, and how to nurture a culture of creativity and innovation. Organizations like NASA (twice!), Johnson and Johnson, Whirlpool/Maytag, the Walt Disney Corporation and literally hundreds more!
One of my key motivational points for my clients has always been this idea.
“Many people see a trend and see a threat. Smart people see the same trend and see opportunity“
Think about that, and then ask yourself as to how do you keep yourself in an innovative frame of mind.
A good part of it has to do with the company you keep! To that end, I’d suggest that you surround yourself with:
- optimists. You need to hang out with people who see all kinds of opportunity – not gloomsters who are convinced there is no future out there!
- people who do. Action oriented people. Folks who accomplish things. Those that do.
- people with open minds. Innovators aren’t prepared to accept the status quo – they are willing to explore and understand different viewpoints, and use that as a kickoff for creativity.
- people who have experienced failure. Innovation comes from risk; risk comes from trying things. Try lots of things, and many will fail. That’s good. That builds up experience, which gives you better insight into a fast paced world.
- oddballs and rebels. Some of the most brilliant thinking and best ideas can come from those who view the world through a different lens. They may seem odd at times, but they can be brilliantly creative.
- good listeners and debaters. They’re willing to challenge ideas, analyze issues, and think through the possibilities.
- people who think differently than you do. If you really want to be innovative, go to two conferences a year that have nothing to do with what you do. You’ll be amazed at what you learn, and how it will re-stir your creative juices.
In every single keynote, I focus on future trends and opportunities, and link that to the process and mindset of innovation. I’m an optimist, continually try new things, listen to other people, watch, observe, and listen.
Most important, I refuse to give in to the pervasive negative thinking that so many people seem to envelope themselves within. Maybe that’s why I see so many opportunities in today’s economy.