“It’s often better to inspire people with the hope of what they can achieve, rather than the fear of what they cannot!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
I love feedback on these daily little observations. I’ll be coming up on five years of putting them together each and every morning this August – I’ve not missed one workday! The thought process that goes behind them give me a moment of quiet reflection, and helps to set the tone as I start my day, with morning coffee, each and every day.
One long-time follower commented to me yesterday that he’s picked up a vibe that some of my recent Daily Inspiration’s are anything but – instead, they seem designed to instill fear, worry, angst, concern. “I wonder if you’re talking to an already scared audience. I wonder if they’d prefer to be comforted more.”
Guilty as charged!
And that reflects a battle that has always played out in my mind, or that has carried through the work that I do on stage, virtual or otherwise: how do you align people to the challenges and opportunities of the future without covering both sides? Deconstruct those words – challenges are problems, issues, barriers – which can often be inconceivable in scope, worrying with their implications, terrifying with their outcome. Opportunities are pathways to success, issues that present a viable future, wonderful outcomes.
Every future trend involves both aspects – challenges AND opportunities. I’ve always tried to cover both issues with any trend or aspect of the future. I’ll admit it’s difficult to not let things skew too far to one side or the other.
In some cases, I’ll take an approach that might heavily lean towards the negative side: the challenges. In other cases, I’ll focus more so on the upside. But I will admit it’s always a dilemma – some trends are just so far-reaching in their implications that you really need to shake people out of their complacency by instilling fear and shock into their soul! It can take a lot of work to try to always be positive – and so you’ve got to force yourself to find the upside through the downside.
Last but not least, in some cases, I’ve been booked primarily for the purpose of focusing on the negative, and it becomes an interesting battle to build out my trend story. I’ve had many a CEO or senior executive who has confided that as I open their global meeting, I need to come in and lay it on the line, to shake people out of their complacency; to wake them up. At one moment or other, they’ve noted that my role is to be truthful: “You can say things on stage that I can’t necessarily say.”
My world? Because it involves the future, it’s a constant battle between being inspirational and being blunt!