Step Up and Stand Out.
There is a famous children’s book called The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
It’s a series of cartoons with a little boy planting his carrot seed.
“His mother said ‘I’m afraid it won’t come up.’
His father said ‘I’m afraid it won’t come up.’
His big brother said ‘it won’t come up.’
Every day the little boy pulled up the weeds around the seed and sprinkled the ground with water.
But nothing came up.
And nothing came up.
Everyone kept saying it wouldn’t come up.
But he still pulled up the weeds around it every day and sprinkled the ground with water.
And then one day, a carrot came up,
Just as the little boy had known it would.”
How much of life is dogged by a selection of critics who tell you in effect ‘it won’t come up’. Many are well meaning. Often they are friends. Sometimes it’s professional advisors. Usually they are in your close group and it’s painful. But this story brings hope and perfectly expresses my cry for expressions of uniqueness, and hope for those that step up, with what they believe, to stand out.
I’m not ‘having a go’ at those that bring strength to ideas and ensure they develop. I’m not against good advice, or structure. Also let’s be clear that a persons’ quality, character, courage and persistence, along with savvy presentation and excellence can’t be compromised. All those strengths have to be there so creativity has a chance. (If you are an entrepreneur you’d better up skill and take on board some feedback here!) But I am saying that without that initial stepping up, and taking the room, not much ever gets developed. Lets also accept that sometimes they are right, but then (for me) its part of the process of finding out what will ‘come up’ and the process allows for evolutionary changes to occur.
One of the most memorable stories I heard last year was attributed to Karl Lagerfeld, the unique designer for Chanel. The story goes that he was asked to judge a photo competition promoted by another household name. When asked how he felt seeing the pictures he said that he found it very difficult to judge the entrants as he lived by a motto of not comparing and not competing. What strength! To be clearly yourself, to not be directed by the competition, and to be resolved to ‘stand out’, which is likely to be the only way to sanely live.
For most entrepreneurs, for creative’s, for those that are prophetic, it’s actually impossible to not stand out. And we need them. We need fresh ideas and thinking that will work to offer new hope and change in a world found sadly trying to hold onto a belief that change doesn’t occur.
So this is a plea for two things. Firstly, the need for us to trust our uniqueness, our instincts and intuition, and that of others (there is plenty of collateral information in scientific research to encourage us here). And secondly the ability of those that can add valuable structure, and proactive thought, to form genuine teams and bring these new ideas’s to market.
Success will come be for those dedicated, courageous and open enough to find out how to do this in their realm.
‘Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible’
Lord Kelvin, President of the British Royal Society, circa 1895
‘640K ought to be enough for anybody’
Bill Gates, 1981