I want to reflect on a very recent personal experience that I had earlier this month.
I was working on a big project, huge. It took me 4 grueling days to complete the research and the write up. About 6 cups of coffee and several hours into my 4th day of research, I was finally beginning to see the light at the end of this figurative tunnel. It was dinner time, I was hungry, had other things to do, so I was content in knowing that I was almost finished and would have my project submitted and reviewed by the deadline.
Oh boy, was I wrong.
As I began to put the pieces of my project together, I noticed, that they didn’t fit. More specifically, the technology I was using wasn’t WORKING. The project that I had so beautifully and carefully crafted, that I had researched for, planned for, and poured 4 days worth of time, energy & coffee into, DID NOT WORK.
Immediately I looked at the clock to see how much time I had to fix this problem. 3 hours. THREE HOURS?!?! I quickly realized that 3 hours might not be enough time – especially considering I’ve already spent 4 DAYS on the project!!!
I began researching, clicking, connecting wires here and there in a frenzy of technological confusion and bewilderment, all to no avail – because it still didn’t WORK. With my technology and brain fried and all hope lost, I walked away from the computer, defeated and ready to give up… Or.. at least ready to throw myself a pity party, for all the hard work I’ve done has now gone to waste.
My boyfriend came to check on me and give me a quick pep talk, when in the middle of his sweet, caring ramblings, it came to me. Hit me like a ton of MacBooks.
What would an INNOVATOR do?
With this one simple question, my mind flooded with racing thoughts about all of the inventors, innovators and pioneers for a better future that I could think of – Steve Jobs, Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, Madam Curie – I even thought of George Curos – author of The Innovator’s Mindset! These amazing dreamers didn’t “fail” and give up! They “failed forward”! They simply found several “ways that didn’t work!” They had an INNOVATOR’S MINDSET!
Through this mindset, they were able to persevere until they found a solution! And if they couldn’t find a solution, they CREATED ONE!
I quickly wrapped up my pity party and went back to my computer with a fresh mindset, and INNOVATOR’s mindset. If I couldn’t find a solution to my problem, I would CREATE one, just like all of the other innovators of the past.
With this newfound mindset, I was able to finish the project. I created a solution to my problem, and went on to make the project even better than it was before! All because I chose to fail forward, using an innovator’s mindset.
I felt the need to blog about this because I feel that it is so applicable to everyday life , no matter what your career is. You could be a student, an engineer or anything between – this mindset can help with productivity and innovation and just getting the job done.
For more information about the Innovator’s Mindset I strongly encourage you to read George Couros’ (@gcouros) book, The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity
Another great read is Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dwek. She is a huge advocate for implementing a Growth Mindset not only in schools, but in businesses and homes all across the world.
You can also view her speaking about the Growth Mindset at Stanford.
If you have more suggestions for books, videos, podcasts or anything related to an Innovation or a growth mindset, please comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts and learn from you, as well!