Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Keep the Innovation . . . Loose the Pride

Have you noticed that so many of the most successful innovators are very self-confident? Well, it makes sense. If you believe that your idea can change the world – that takes quite a bit of confidence.

But here is the question, “How can you build the confidence you need to push new innovations through the pipeline without being prideful?

I wonder if it is possible. The reason is simple. If you spend all day telling yourself and those you are trying to convince that you have the solutions to their problems, you build yourself up until pride is a foregone conclusion.

This is especially true when others encourage you. In innovation work we seem to get two extremes. Either people think we are the best thing that has ever happened to our industry or people think our new ideas are completely worthless. There doesn’t seem to be much in the middle.

The funny thing is innovators have a way of staying confident even when the whole world thinks their innovation is absolutely worthless.

Here are some thoughts on how to remain humble as an innovator:

  1. Hang out with people who are more talented than you are. This helps you see that while you are a very talented person, others are also gifted.
  2. Read Proverbs and Ecclesiastes regularly . . . enough said.
  3. Elevate the idea your innovation represents above your contribution to the idea. This helps keep the cause at the center and you out of that center spot.
  4. Talk to your critics regularly and listen actively.
  5. Ask God to remove pride from your life daily. I would even encourage you to write a special prayer that you put in your Bible so that you can pray an intentional prayer regularly.


Stan Nussbaum said...

I've always had enough failures that humility has not been that much of a struggle! I even came up with a proverb to help me deal with them: "Among my brain children, the infant mortality rate is very high."

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

Stan, thanks for sharing this. You are right. Many times in our innovation we fail more than we succeed. We have to guard against pride on one side and discouragement on the other. In the middle there is reliance on Christ!

Samantha said...

It's so true...when you hang out with more knowledgeable people--it will keep you humble. Nowadays even the younger generation is keeping me humble, at times.