The risk might be scary, but it might also be necessary.
You start life full of possibility and creativity. You learn to roll over, sit, and stand. At that point in your life, those are incredible breakthroughs for an infant who just months earlier was entirely dependent on life being sustained through a cord inside a mother's womb. But as you get older, it’s easy to lose the zeal and desire to explore, grow, and adapt to the world around you. Life is changing so fast.
But you don't achieve a breakthrough by playing it safe. You achieve a breakthrough by doing something new. And that means you must be ready to deal with failure, friction, and fumbling around until you find your rhythm. Everyone wants the upside, but few are willing to risk it all to achieve the breakthrough.
Predictability Clouds Possibility
In spite of the fact that the evidence is so strong around breakthroughs, why are so many leaders reluctant to do what is required to achieve it? Instead of reaching for the impossible, they seem to consistently choose the safe route—the one that seems the most obvious, familiar, and predictable.
The iPhone was introduced 11 years ago. The iPad was released only eight years ago. And the Apple Watch was added just three years ago. All three of those devices defined new technology categories, new marketplaces, and have allowed people to make money in ways that previously would have been unimaginable. Just think if Microsoft had done what Apple did a few years earlier? They could have. They had money, market share, and the attention of the world. It wasn't Microsoft who led the industry to the brink of a breakthrough. It was the scrappy, unpredictable, and volatile company led by Steve Jobs—a man with a relentless commitment to crush incremental status changes and reach for breakthrough opportunities. If Microsoft had done that, they would be in a completely different position today, and Apple, as we know it, may not even exist.
I wonder how many times you or I missed the breakthrough in the pursuit of incremental change. No one will ever be able to know for sure—at least this side of heaven. The choices you and I make every day will either result in either tinkering with the present or creating what could be.
You don’t get the breakthrough in the safety zone. And you don’t get the adventure without the risk. The possibility of failure is part of the package. If you choose breakthrough, you’ll learn what it means to activate your divine design and release your potential to change your world and the world around you.
Stop settling for incremental change. Sometimes the safest decision is to throw away what is familiar and reach for the unfamiliar. Like a professor once told me, “If you ever come to a fork in the road, take the way that scares you the most. That’s the path that will unlock your giftedness and teach you what it means to be fully alive." He was right. Incremental breakthrough doesn't exist. Go for it—all the way. I believe in you.