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Innovating with Meaning: Missed Opportunities

Welcome back to the Innovating with Meaning Blog!

Life is about choices.  Just like the contestants on the popular television show, "Deal or No Deal?", who have to choose between making a deal with the banker or carrying on with the chance of identifying a case containing a million dollars, we are all faced with making choices that send us along different paths in life.  Often, these choices can lead to fulfillment or, alternatively, to feelings of "missed opportunities".  These choices can be in our professional as well as in our personal lives.

Some of the missed opportunities others have shared with us include the following:

  • Missing out on the opportunity to travel to a "dream" destination
  • Missing the opportunity to learn from a "master" in a specific field
  • Missing the opportunity to start their own business
  • Missing the opportunity to really contribute in a unique way to their communities
  • Missing the opportunity to pursue further education and/or change career paths
  • Missing the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends

Each of these opportunities, which would (or at least could) have opened the doors to new learning and connections, was lost because the person felt that the risk was too large or because the person, consciously or not, gave into pressure to follow a path that others had written for him or her.

"Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!"—Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Innovation is about unlearning the old ways and forging into new territory.  Importantly, innovation is not just a topic for organizations.  In order to maximize our opportunities, we also have to embrace the concept of "innovating with meaning" in our own lives.  Yes, that's right.  Now is the time to start taking steps onto the path that you truly want to take in your life—both your personal life and your work life.  Are you "innovating with meaning" by making sure that you don't have too many missed opportunities in your life? 

Blog Co-Authors:

Dr. Alex Pattakos is the author of Prisoners of Our Thoughts ( and Elaine Dundon is author of The Seeds of Innovation (