For Startup Entrepreneurs: The five principles of fearlessness to success

National Geographic Society’s chairman Jean Case explains the bold risk-taking behind great discoveries and innovations.

She shares how She and her Husband commenced the Case Foundation in 1997 with an objective: to invest in people and ideas that can change the world. It was a process of investigating and experimenting to find the best ideas out there, the best leaders, the best models for innovation. She further shares that off late a team of experts was engaged to determine the “secret sauce” that propelled those rare leaders, organizations, and movements to success. The team discovered five principles that are consistently present when transformational breakthroughs take place. To spark this sort of change, you must:

  • Make a Big Bet: So many people and organizations are naturally cautious. They look at what seemed to work in the past and try to do more of it, leading to only incremental advances. Every truly history-making transformation has occurred when people have decided to go for revolutionary change.

  • Be bold, take risks: Have the guts to try new, unproven things and the rigor to continue experimenting. Risk taking is not a blind leap off a cliff but a lengthy process of trial and error. And it doesn’t end with the launch of a product or the start of a movement. You need to be willing to risk the next big idea, even if it means upsetting your own status quo.

  • Make failure matter:Great achievers view failure as a necessary part of advancing towards success. No one seeks it out, but if you’re trying new things, the outcome is by definition uncertain. When failure happens, great innovators make the setback matter, applying the lessons learned and sharing them with others.

  • Reach beyond your bubble: Our society is in thrall to the myth of the lone genius. But innovation happens at intersections. Often the most original solutions come from engaging with people with diverse experiences to forge new and unexpected partnerships.

  • Let urgency conquer fear: Don’t overthink and overanalyze. It’s natural to want to study a problem from all angles, but getting caught up in questions like “What if we’re wrong? What if there’s a better way?” can leave you paralyzed with fear. Allow the compelling need to act to outweigh all doubts and setbacks.

Courtesy: Philanthropist and National Geographic Society's chairman Jean Case outlines the qualities of change makers in her book Be Fearless.