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Leading Ideas: Firestarting

“You can’t start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart.” — Bruce Springsteen (1949- ) American singer/songwriter, lyrics from “Dancing in the Dark”

Richard Branson, the often outrageous Chairman of the Virgin Group has made a career of starting fires by flying in the face of failure. In a recent Fortune magazine article he recalled the 2 most important things he did to make Virgin Atlantic Airways a success. (1) He sued British Airways and (2) He made a fool of himself promoting the airline. Both could have easily burned him. But neither did. Instead, they got him over seemingly insurmountable hurdles.

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Something to consider:

You can’t build anything great in life if you’re worried about failure. When you worry about failure, you put your energy in the wrong place. You end up focusing on escape routes and contingency plans instead of success. And you kill the passion and drive you need to bring your creative ideas to life.

Something to try:

1. In your mind, paint a clear picture of something big you’d like to make happen.
2. Describe the details. Where are you? Who’s there? What are you all doing?
3. Continue to fill in the picture with more and more detail.
4. Notice how fears of failure slowly dissipate and courses of action start to emerge.
5. Take a risk and follow one or more of those courses.

Question: How has risk started a fire for you?

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