I was at a training course recently – not one of mine – but there as a delegate. It was a pleasure to be sitting in the audience listening to someone else speak for two days; being instructed and guided; being challenged to think differently about issues affecting the business.
Early on in Day 1, the facilitator said to the group, ‘This is adult education. If someone has a better idea than you, feel free to take it and adapt it to fit you and your business. No one will be sent out for copying!’
It was a great message and one that reminded me of the picture above – seen on the outside of any £2 coin.
Standing on the shoulders of giants.
What you do, what you write, what you say doesn’t have to be original. In fact, it seldom is. It rarely needs to be. So long as you say it in a way which is authentic to you and which resonates with the people you’re talking to then that’s all that matters.
There are so many great ideas out there, many of which aren’t heard by 99% of people. So anything which can be done to amplify those ideas is entirely worthwhile.
Of course, if you’re going to take something from someone word-for-word, do the author or the creator the courtesy of referencing their work. But if it’s an idea or a concept that’s widely available, then the chances are that it will already be out there in multiple formats.
Perhaps your take on it, your perspective, will be the one which changes people’s minds, gets them to think differently and act as a result of it. Perhaps it hasn’t been applied to your business or your industry before. Perhaps it hasn’t been written or spoken in a way that makes it accessible or easily understandable to others. Perhaps it’s a complex idea or subject, perfectly poised for someone to simplify it and package it up in way which makes perfect sense.
Ideas are rarely unique or original, more likely a repackaging or combination of others.
In the pursuit of something ‘new’, it’s particularly easy to try and over-think or over-engineer an idea.
But, there is something special and powerful that comes from starting – yet it is often the thing we find most difficult. We often put up barriers to beginning – some of them real, some of them perceived, but almost all surmountable.
I’ll wait until its perfect.
Let’s be clear, there is never a perfect time. Your plans will never be 100 percent perfect and you will never be totally ready – so don’t set your expectations that high. Just get started and adapt along the way if necessary.
Of course there will never be a perfect time to have a go at something new, especially if it’s something that requires a significant change. And this isn’t to underestimate what is required, because at times it can be tough, but something special happens when you just get going. The energy and the momentum that results can do wonders and allow you to achieve more – to jump higher and further – than you ever thought possible.
And one way to jump higher is to start from a higher point.
If in doubt, start by standing on the shoulders of giants.