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Great Innovators Master Sitting in the Unknown

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One of the hardest things to do in life is to sit with the unknown.

My husband has done a lot of work in the innovation-world and discomfort is such an integral part of the process. Every project, he explained, goes through a phase in which you get stuck in the muck of the unknown and feel like you’ll never find your way out. The key is staying with it long enough that when the muck settles, you can see the new path up ahead.

Human beings are a lot like innovation projects.

The problem most of face is that in our very busy lives at work, we don’t stay with the muck long enough. You know, those uncomfortable feelings that show up when we don’t know what to do or have the answers. When we don’t know why we feel what we feel. When we don’t see the way out.

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If we’re committed to being and bringing our best selves we have to stay with the muck. If we bail, there’s no hope for anything new.

I think in leadership, like in innovation, (let’s face it, like in life), one of the greatest skills we can hone is our ability to be in the discomfort. To sit with the unknown. It may be messy and uncertain and require an investment that can’t be guaranteed, but without it, nothing new, or different, or better can be achieved.

And better is good.

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