Limiting Beliefs and Growing Future Vision

Guy Kawasaki. Photo ©Jocelyn Canfield

Yesterday I saw Guy Kawasaki speak on the subject of innovation. Guy was at Apple computer in its early days and today is a prolific business author and venture capitalist who listens to countless pitches on ideas for new products and businesses.

One of the points Kawasaki made was how limiting beliefs and narrow thinking can result in lost opportunities…He cited:

  • the 1876 internal memo from Western Union stating that “the telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered a means of communication”
  • the 1943 quote from Thomas Watson of IBM that he stated there is “a world market  for maybe five computers”
  • the 1977 quote from Ken Olson of Digital Equipment Corp that there was “no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home.”

In hindsight, of course, it’s easy to see that these statements demonstrate limited vision. But this is what many of us do when we look through the blinders of the status quo. Kawasaki shared his own worst example of that kind – of what he calls bozo thinking. He was invited to interview for the CEO position of Yahoo in its very early days. His response to the opportunity was that it was “too far to drive and he didn’t see how it can be a business.” Convinced the job would have been his, he believes that narrow thinking about the potential of the company cost him about $2 Billion had he taken on the role of CEO.

How can we expand our vision and open our minds to the world as it could become? To the potential of the new technologies that are already in existence? To the ways in which our jobs are being transformed by technology and the economy? What skills can we develop to have better future vision and develop ourselves to step into tomorrow?  I believe in the importance of creating thinking time to consider opportunities before us and ahead of us so that when our own  “Yahoo opportunity” comes along, it won’t seem like too far to drive.

Jocelyn Canfield, ABC
Communication Results


The Positive in Every Situation

bigstockphoto_lemonade_3393603A member of a LinkedIn group questioned the degree to which the media are guilty of fueling the fire of our economic downtown with incendiary headlines like, “Consumer Confidence Plummets.” My feeling is that the media ARE complicit in fueling that fire and my response to his query talked about the failure of the media to seek balance in their reporting. I have not seen a lot of headlines about companies that are doing well in this economy…companies who are innovating, making good business choices and navigating the turbulent waters. These companies ARE out there and they are the ones that will emerge on the other side in a strengthened position.

I believe in the statement about life being like a camera…whatever you focus on develops. Sure, there is plenty of negative out there. But think of the abundance of innovative responses to these challenging times! These times are NOT going to reward the whiners and worriers. I personally have been engaging in a wide variety of new marketing efforts…trying new things, reaching out to new people, evaluating all of my opportunities and looking to create new ones. As a result I have connected with new people, landed new work and put in place new strategies for growth.

Never forget the importance of your attitude in determining your destiny.

© 2009 Jocelyn Canfield, ABC

Creating the Vision of Your Success

When I was part of a change team for a company that was reinventing its structure to better serve customers, the lead consultant asked the senior executives to write an imaginary Wall Street Journal article about the company’s success – five years from the completion of the change initiative. The exercise focused the team on the positive outcomes they were striving for and challenged them to think about what additional changes would need to happen to get them to realize the successes in their success article. After this exercise they had a clearer vision of the future desired state, which helped to focus their actions and get them to see past the pain of change.

How often do you think about what you want your future to look like? When you have reached a point of complete satisfaction with your business/career, who are your clients? What does your office look like? What are your annual billings? How much time off do you take? Where will you go on vacation? What kind of house are you living in? What kind of car do you drive? What do your relationships look like? Consider creating a visual reminder of your aspirations so you stay fully present on where you are going and the steps it will take you to get there.

The mind is a powerful tool when it comes to achieving success. Envisioning your success may sound a lot like daydreaming, but when we are driving somewhere we have never been, we typically take along a roadmap. (If only the roadmap to our life success were as easy as plugging the destination into googlemaps and clicking go!) Success in business and having a great life takes planning and hard work. The big question is, what do you need to do to get yourself to that future desired state?

Take Action Challenge: Be on the lookout for pictures and words that speak to you about your success and put together a “vision map” that you can place somewhere as a constant reminder of where you want to go. You can create an online version (that you can also save as your computer screensaver) using the Ultimate Vision Board application at Share with the community by using the comment button if you have done a visioning exercise or used a vision board to inspire your success.

© 2008 Jocelyn Canfield, ABC