Wonder and Doubt

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I was recently on a two hour flight with a 3 year old sitting in front of me experiencing her first airplane ride. Are you cringing yet? Don’t.

It was a beautiful experience. Her sense of wonder and excitement was inspiring. She asked me to help her open our shared window blind and she explained what was going through her brilliant mind for most of the trip. Not a whimper, just pure, intelligent wonder. And of course, she proudly showed me the wings she received from the flight attendant.

I wish we weren’t too cool to experience life like that.

This week I created a private training module for a client focused on the paradoxical concept within the Personal Brilliance catalyst curiosity about living simultaneously with wonder and doubt leading to innovation. So it’s on my mind.

What gives you that sense of wonder?

The spirit of wonder can come from all areas of our lives. What’s interesting is that we have total control over whether something awes us or not. There are some things that almost guarantee a wow – turning a corner and seeing Mt. Denali right in front of you with no cloud cover, a special fete of human performance, that special look from the person you are in love with.

What about the little things? Can you get jazzed by less obvious beautifully designed things like a perfectly orchestrated communication meeting? Are you pumped when a mentee does well?

Hopefully you can get that feeling a couple times a day. Hopefully you aren’t going through the motions and not noticing the world. It’s pretty amazing. From a leadership standpoint can you incite that feeling in others?

While a sense of wonder is crucial doubt helps us get to innovation as well. For example, doubt can allow you to question the approach for tackling a marketplace. This leads to questions that when answered result in a better strategy. That niggling feeling that a key constituent won’t be on board with an initiative causes you to ask questions that solve a foundational problem and leads to success.

Of course, while the sense of doubt or skepticism is healthy, you have to be careful not to slip over the line into cynicism. There is no hope in cynicism while skepticism can be a great tool.

To do this week: Look for beautifully designed things, no matter how small, and reignite your sense of wonder and awe. Let this feeling guide you this week.

Let me know how it’s goes. Click the “comments” box below to participate in an on-going discussion via LinkedIn.

Jim Canterucci

I don't know everything. But I want to. The focus of our firm, Transition Management Advisors, is to develop leadership capabilities to create a championship culture, generate innovation, and successfully lead the resulting changes.

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On March 28, 2018
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