Creative LeadershipCreativity

In the Digital Age, You Can’t Hide Failure.

Google isn’t just about search, it’s about reputation management. The river of information that flows online is a tsunami, and whatever failure you’ve experienced in your past will show up in a Google search. So get used to it. Today we need to embrace our pasts and live more transparent lives than ever. Even more important, we need to stop looking in the rearview mirror and instead concentrate on the road ahead.

So many people are locked into old ways of thinking, tired methods, and useless techniques, that it’s almost impossible to get them to see the possibilities of the new.  I’m often brought into an organization facing serious challenges, only to be limited by their frustrating desire to continue old ways of thinking. The truth is, if the old way of thinking worked, why would they need me? And yet they persist in doing the same thing(s) in the same way(s) but wanting different results.

It’s ultimately about insecurity, and I could write an entire book on that issue alone. I’ve discovered that when faced with the possibility of change or a new way of doing things, people react in two different ways. Secure people react with excitement and anticipation. But insecure people react with fear and hesitation. Insecure people are the ones who drag their feet, “forget” to do things they’ve been asked to do, subvert meetings, and figure out a million other ways to sabotage the process.

Perhaps you were told that you’d never make it, you don’t have what it takes, or you’d never amount to anything. Whoever told you that had no idea of all your capabilities, because no one can know the full potential or the full range of possibilities in another human being, and no one can tell for certain where your limits are or how far you can reach.

You may believe in God, be an atheist or an agnostic. But I believe that you were born for a purpose. You were not a cosmic accident and your life has not been a mistake. I believe that each of us has a purpose that only we can accomplish and a promise that each of us was born to fulfill.  I love the quote by former attorney general Ramsey Clark:

“Turbulence is life force. It is opportunity. Let’s love turbulence and use it for change.”

Have you experienced a failure that you need to leave behind?

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  1. Phil, great article.

    Google themselves proved the point this week that they are indeed a reputation engine, rather than just a search engine. Check out what I wrote about one of google engineers that hit the wrong ‘send’ key instead of to the staff he broadcast it to the world on google+  

  2. well said.  google and the forces of social network force one to own up to past mistakes.  this can be a good thing, and can increase transparency.  

    I’ve learned to own stuff from this new process: hey yeah I messed up on that blog post, or that short film, but I’ve learned and gotten better from it. 

    The only other way to go would be to de-google your identity, which I think is technically impossible. 

    1. Technically possible Roy, but probably as difficult as deleting an account on Facebook.  The best policy is to assume that once it’s posted, it stays forever…

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