Fear of the Unknown

The power of the unknown is a very strong motivator. The fear of the unknown can make you choose one decision over another. People who think strategically often spend much of their time thinking about tomorrow and playing devil’s advocate. Asking questions like: “What if…?” Good leadership says you plan for those possibilities and plot a course that steers clear of danger, yet gets you to your destination as quickly and efficiently as possible. That means taking into account the powerful influence of a ‘what if’ and planning a contingency.

The problem with this approach to leadership though is that it can become so focused on ‘not failing’ that it looses sight of the reward of being the first to discover a new land.
That is what historic sailors were after. They were adventurers, sailing the uncharted seas in search of hidden treasures, new lands and undiscovered worlds.  Lured by the power of their vision and the hope of ‘what if’ they ventured out into uncharted territory in search of anything new.

Who are you and why are you here?

What is very predictable about their adventures though, is that they ran into trouble. When you are in uncharted waters, you are unfamiliar with everything, so everything is new and there are no charts, no maps to get you out. Only the power of experience and a well-defined purpose for being there in the first place, can guide you out of such a situation.

On the continuum of risk and reward, predictability and safety lie on one end and they are married to low reward. On the other end of the continuum are crazy risks, uncharted territories, the end of the world and dare I say it…DRAGONS! But married to those elements are the rewards of discovering something completely new and the satisfaction of being there first.

Consider this quote from Erwin McManus in “The Barbarian Way”

For the Spirit of God to release dreams and visions within our souls, we must first become free to risk and free to fail. 

All too often we opt for the safety of predictability and low risk, knowing that is comes with low reward, but content to navigate a path through it. When what is truly drawing us is the power of ‘what if’ the promise of a new world discovered. The reward of risking all and it paying off.

I think it is in this place of high risk and uncharted waters that we feel most alive. That we flourish in our creativity and produce at levels even we didn’t know could occur. The cauldron of evil that the end of the world threatens to throw at us, actually produces greatness from us. So in the future, when you see a sign that warns; BEYOND THIS PLACE THERE BE DRAGONS, know that fighting the Dragons, may just be a path to your greatest contribution in life.

Two questions then:

  • What DRAGONS do you face today?
  • What greatness could emerge from your life or those around you, if you squared off against the dragon?