What if there where no obligations, no rules, no fear of anything, no responsibilities? What if you had the ultimate power, poise, perfection, looks, intellect, energy and ability to do anything in the world you wanted to? What would you do? What if you could live your life in a very warm and fuzzy space where you could do anything? Yup, anything in the world! To me, the defining moment—when I get beyond the fear monger as mentioned in my last blog—is to stand up to the world and ask, What if?
What if there were no hungry children? What if gluten free food was not more expensive? What if laborers could have a card for payment that also gave them medical benefits and bank benefits? What if there where only happy people? What if a drone could make agriculture so much more efficient that we would no longer need chemicals for pest control? What if, what if, What if?
Last night, What if? started rolling around in my head. The day before, I met with some really interesting folks, who are doing great things in the sustainability world. My concern about those meetings was that even though they are doing great things in general, consultancies are hard to finance for scale and impact. They typically are a slow build. But I loved their enthusiasm and what they are doing. The question I was solving for is, how could these beautiful people, these companies that are doing important work, scale up and have more impact in our daily lives? A much bigger and more important impact than they ever imagined.
Let’s pause a moment here and think about the power of What if?… John Lennon did it a little differently with one of the most inspiring songs in the word—to me anyway—Imagine.
Imagine, for me becomes just asking What if? Maybe the song Imagine inspires you, too, but even if it doesn’t, you get where I am heading. It really doesn’t matter how you get there… Just get there!
I seem to always ask aspiring entrepreneurs the same questions. I always ask is there anything in the world that you think is just not right? Anything you would change? Anything that just irritates you or even makes you angry? With each one of those questions I also ask what if you could create a company that changes that situation? What would that company look like? What would it do and how would it function? What would people say about it? I ask these aspiring entrepreneurs to get it in their head, write it down and socialize it for feedback and insights. I’m asking you to do the same.
Commit to pushing the thought that you can create change forward and it will happen. If you stay with it, it will absolutely happen. (The Ebook Chop Wood and Carry Water explains this in more detail.) Stay with it everyday, doing one little thing to push your What If? further. Do something kind for someone else every day and the culmination of the those two things will bring you to a place you never imagined. I know you get the point here.
Anyway, last night What if? was rolling around in my head and I kept thinking about that consultancy and the great work it is doing and how it probably wouldn’t scale very quickly without a major thrust into a different way of going to market. But then I thought, what if our Code Blue Team could do something to help this? That’s what I kept thinking and it was relentless. So this morning, before I read even one email, I started writing a potential What if?
Started out not really sure what I was going to write, but I got to work anyway and let the stream of consciousness just flow. Not questioning, just knowing that this was what I needed to do this morning. Then one by one the Code Blue Team starting chiming in —making changes, augmenting and even telling me I missed the mark (which I really appreciate) because it is not about being right, it is about putting the energy out there. You can make major change in the world no matter who you are. You could be on the cover of multiple magazines, give major speeches, have buildings named after you… Just start by asking What if? Socialize it and listen to all of the feedback you get. This is how every new idea, every new business starts, with a What if? Then a team looks at it, hacks it up and buys into the thought process that actually becomes the energy of the business.
Key here is that you socialize the What if? Make adjustments with the team or friends that you assemble for feedback. This is critical because people that keep the idea to themselves rarely get it out the door. In examining entrepreneurs in the book The Innovators by Walter Isaacson, he does a deep analysis of this phenomena of not sharing and stresses the importance of sharing your What if?
Net, the ones that share their idea have a much higher chance of succeeding than the ones that don’t. So make sure you socialize, make sure you discuss your What if? with as wide a group as you can. Stay with it, keep the energy high.
Now, just for a moment think about a couple of famous What ifs? Yes, Imagine you where in Paris and thought, what if I could just press a button on my phone and get picked up? Imagine if you asked your team what if we could put 10,000 songs in a person’s pocket?
So, what’s your What if? —