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Are You Ready To Be Ridiculed

by Doug Davidoff | Aug 26, 2009 4:59:27 AM

I've written a lot about change recently.  I guest the reason for this is because of all the conversations I've been having with clients who seem to be reborn with excitement about creating a new future, now that it appears the "world is not ending."  One of the things I've noticed is that after an initial burst of energy a great idea emerges.  The idea is then immediately watered down to the banal, trite and common.

Yesterday, I told one of my clients to "stop being 'reasonable.'"  Think about it.  A definition of "reasonable" is "of sound judgment, fair and sensible."  How great can "fair and sensible" be.  If you want a future with above average top line growth and way above average bottom line growth, "fair and sensible" isn't going to cut it.  You've got to be crazy.  Creating something great is not an act of balance, precisely the opposite.  Anything great, by definition, is an outlier.

The challenge with being an outlier is that you threaten the status quo - and the status quo doesn't like to be threatened.  As a result, the people who are being held back by the status quo will do whatever they can to bring you back to pack.  One of the most effective means of doing that is ridiculing you.  Experts will talk about how "silly you are," "how you lack the facts," or "how it can't be done."  Friends will think you've gone nuts.  Employees will think your crazy and will begin to hide from you (while deep down they'll be hoping you don't fall for this trap as they want to break free from the status quo as well but are afraid).  Being ridiculed is tough.  You'll feel isolated.  You'll experience doubt and you won't be allowed to show it to anyone.

But, if you allow yourself to be ridiculed and you stick to your vision (while of course making adjustments), you'll begin to seem less crazy.  People will begin to be inspired by what you're doing.  The market will show increasing curiosity about your "new" thing.  And before you know it, they'll be jumping on your bandwagon.  As long you you implement solid business principles, what once seemed ridiculous will become genius, and you'll experience the personal and financial gain that goes with it.

So, are you ready to be ridiculed?  Go for it!