I find myself having a love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. Was I not good enough in 2014? Then I remember, each year is a blank, 365-page book, and we have the opportunity to rewrite our own story. It is a chance to restart and redefine who we are as people, as leaders and as businesses. A wise man once said, “I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on earth, then I ask myself the same question.”
I believe we get comfortable where we are and the thought of doing something different scares us. But when you think about it, the real enemy of innovation is stagnation, and in order to keep propelling forward, we have to make a conscious decision to focus on big ideas, big dreams and big goals. This year, I challenge myself and our Paycom employees to not only improve, but to innovate.
How to be an innovator
Alone at my desk, I got to thinking, what makes someone an innovator? Are these people extraordinarily different from me? As a matter of fact, no, they’re not. People like Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and Oprah are just ordinary people – like you and me – who are doing extraordinary things. So how did they overcome stagnation? Then it hit me! My “a-ha” moment: To be an innovator, you need intent, inspiration, ideas and influence.
Do you have a New Year’s resolution you never keep? It’s probably because your mind wasn’t in the right place. In order to turn an idea into action, you need intent. You have to ask yourself, “who and what do I intend to be.” Do you intend to be different, be better and be successful? Jobs, Disney and Oprah all made this promise from the beginning, which led them to manifest something great.
Everything that happens in the universe begins with intent. An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. It is the energy behind the action. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Just get started. Do something.
Inspiration is your “why.” Innovators are passionate people who understand their why. They get out of bed each morning with a specific purpose and a clear vision of why they must do what they do. Inspired people:
- have open minds
- are more creative
- set bigger goals
- are more intrinsically motivated
- attract others to them
- derive a large sense of fulfillment and purpose from work
- expect good things to happen
- have higher self-esteem
- live longer
While intent primes our minds, inspiration takes care of our hearts. What’s your why? Find a way to connect your passion and purpose with your work.
Once your heart and mind are in sync, the ideas begin to pour in. The difference is that innovators are able to turn ideas into action. They get out of survival mode and get into a prosperity mindset by:
The same old thinking will yield the same old results. If you want to change the course of history, look at age-old problems through a fresh lens. Allow yourself and those around you to brainstorm. Resist the impulse to shoot down an idea immediately. Kill the negative self-talk of “That will never work” and “I’m sure some else already thought of that.”
Valuing Progress over Perfection
Perfection is impossible to achieve, so why waste any more time waiting? Instead, just get started. The first Apple computer was far from perfection, but with time, it progressed into the sleek design we know today. Don’t wait … innovate.
Being Willing to Fail and Try Again
Great innovators have fear; they just don’t let fear get the best of them. They face it head-on with confidence, knowing that failure is never final. They fail fast and innovate their ideas along the way.
Do you know someone who is full of incredible ideas, yet never acts upon them? Is that someone you? Innovators are leaders, not by position or title, but by their ability to influence others to act. Can you sell your idea? Are you able to encourage others to take on your vision?
To be influential, it is important to surround yourself with positive influences. Find people who will help make your dream possible.
In 2015, I will innovate and encourage those around me to be innovators. It’s not too late to get it right, so if you’re ready for big change, join me on this journey.
This post is the first in our series on innovation. Keep checking back for news and further inspiration.