"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." - Wayne Gretzky
When Jenna and I started Be Courageous, we’d just moved to a new city and had a fourth child on the way. Not a typical “best time” to start a company.
Recently, a category 5 storm hit the bay area. That was the day I decided to get back into physical training. There I was, getting soaked with 75 mph winds doing squats. Again, not the “best time.”
In both scenarios, it may not have been the “best time,” but it was undoubtedly the “right time.”
How Soon is Now?
It’s often not the “right time” to start a company, family or new venture. And every time you wait for “the right time,” obstacle after obstacle will show up. Suddenly, a year will go by, and you’ll wonder, “If only I’d started a year ago.” You have to create the right time.
We’ve all been on the edge of greatness or failure. Whether messaging someone you want to ask out, applying for a job, making a move to a new country, or trying a new recipe, there’s a decision point in which if you want something great to happen you have to leap into the unknown with no guarantee of success.
You could get swiped left for that date, you could get rejected for the new job, you could hate your town, or your new recipe could taste like….
You could also find the love of your life, the job and town of your dreams, or enjoy bites of a culinary masterpiece.
Take Lloyd, for example. Lloyd is the lead character in a movie called Dumb and Dumber, and as ironic as it is, he has an incredibly smart point – No matter how small, there is a chance.
Lloyd: “What are my chances (you’ll go out with me)?”
Mary: “Not good.”
Lloyd: “You mean,“not good” like… one out of a hundred?”
Mary: “I’d say.. more like one out of a million.”
Lloyd: “So….you’re telling me there’s a chance? … yeah!!”
Taking your shot in a VUCA world
“Do anything. Anything will lead to something else.” – Margot Robbie
In a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Changing, Ambiguous) world, there’s more uncertainty than ever, which makes action feel crippling. What-ifs dance around our heads like the Rockettes. It can feel safer to stand still, like survivalists lost in the forest.
But here’s the thing: You have to have a bias toward action, because the rate of change is so fast, that if you don’t get involved at some level, you’re going to be left behind. Quickly. If Katniss Everdeen had stayed still during the Hunger Games, perhaps the most VUCA environment imaginable, she would have been a goner. Action led to her survival.
Three steps to taking your shot in a VUCA world:
- Figure out what the simplest shot is that you can start to take to move in the direction you believe is the future of yourself, team, or company.
- Take that shot.
- Learn from that shot and iterate your way forward.
Our future is foggy, for sure, and sometimes hard to navigate. Use your senses, your hands, your instinct, your current knowledge about the terrain. You have to put your hands out to start moving. Don’t wait for the “perfect moment” to step forward – it doesn’t exist.
Why you can - and should - take the shot, now
1. You have more power at your fingertips than any generation before you. With the advancements in AI (i.e., ChatGPT, AI predicting structures of nano-materials, the optimization of solar panels). There are huge opportunities, or huge threats if someone takes opportunities from you.
2. Our ability as humans to manifest a shot is greater now than ever before in history, from a Roofshot (a “clear, short term, low risk, achievable” goal) to a Moonshot (a “big, hairy audacious” goal) to an EarthShot (a goal to benefit our planet and its inhabitants) to a Mars Shot (“beyond what we can foresee now” goal).
3. The risk of not getting involved is higher than the risk of getting involved. To stay antifragile to future threats, you have to be part of the conversation of where the world is going. Think this: If I think that someday I’ll have to jump all the way into xyz, how do I get involved enough now, so that if it takes off, I will be part of it?
We not only have the ability to make great change, but we have the need to make great change. For example, for the first time in history, you can reap rewards for working on something good for the earth. For example, if you are sequestering carbon, you could be paid for it.
Our ability to create change doesn’t only come from technological advances, it’s also in our ability to build community, connecting to minds who are looking for the best possible future as well as willingness to fund it.
Take Your Shot Worksheet
Your tool to plan what action you’ll take, from Roof to Moon. You’ve got this!
Tips for Taking Courageous Action
Get clear on the shot you’re trying to take.
Believe in yourself and your abilities to achieve it.
Build a strong support system and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Be open to learning and trying new things.
Persevere and stay resilient.
The future looks bright
One of the great things about the future is that it’s up to us to create it. The future will be what we decide it will be, not by sitting and contemplating, which is an important first step, but by beginning to take action.
By taking the first action, by doing that first thing that can start us on the path to the future we want to live into, we create the life and world we want.
What problems can you solve or do you want to solve?
Have a bias to action. Courage the shot. Even when it feels like it’s one in a million, you still have a chance!
We’ve helped hundreds of people and teams take courageous shots, reach out, we can help!
Co-writers: Paul D. Roberts and Shannon Guyton.