The world needs innovation not continuation.

Part of the Rotary Four Way Test, photo by Jill E. Williams


Yesterday, I learned that a woman whom I really admire is retiring soon.  I reached out to her to tell her what an inspiration she had been in my development and to wish her well, and it was then that we had a conversation that has stayed with me.  “The world needs innovation not continuation,” she said.  But we have to be brave and creative to achieve the innovation, she continued. 

At the time we were talking about institutions, but I’ve been thinking about that phrase, The world needs innovation not continuation, ever since with an eye towards the need for each of us as individuals to be innovative.  A few weeks ago, I had what I thought was a really good idea.  It would involve professional innovation for me and would deliver an experience that would allow others to innovate themselves (I think).  I was really excited about it.  But in the weeks since I had the big idea, I’ve been distancing myself from it.  Not because I don’t think it’s good but because it’s going to take so much from me to make it happen.  And I just work during preschool and naptime and a lot of that time is spent working on Circle de Luz as the board chair and my freelancing and I am upping my course load this fall from teaching one class to three classes and where in the world will I find the time to tackle this renewed professional premise while keeping everything else tended to and so maybe I just shouldn’t while I’ve got all this other stuff going. 

Maybe, in fact, it wasn’t all that good an idea in the first place.  And don’t I need a new computer to do all this and then I’d need to figure out the new computer which, let’s be honest here, will take me months not days, and the rest of the technology that I would need to figure out to make this happen- it is all just so, so much.  And I just have twelve hours of preschool and maybe 8 hours of napping each week for my work time this summer.  And so maybe now is not the time to be professionally innovative.  Maybe now is the time to stay the course, to continnue with what is working just fine for me, to not push myself any further because, seriously, aren’t there other things pushing me plenty?

And that’s how it happens, right?  That is exactly how we go from innovative to status quo in 47 seconds.  Because everything I just lamented? I can honestly figure out.  It’ll take time, yes, but the important stuff always does.  And I’ll need to be creative but, seriously, creativity is one of my strengths.  But it is the bravery, the gumption, that gets me.  Can I be brave enough to branch out, to build, to boost, to become?  Can I innovate when continuing is jsut so much easier? 

And that question isn’t just mine, is it?  It is all of ours. The world needs innovation not continuation.  We, our souls, need innovation not continuation.  We need personal renewal, refreshment, revision. We need to always be in the midst of becoming our best selves. And, yet, so rarely do we allow ourselves that, do we give ourselves over to the innovation we imagine.  We need to grasp on to the dual strongholds of bravery and creativity and make things happen for ourselves.  The interesting thing is that when we get into our truth, our authentic expression of ourselves, we get to a place where we are offering the world the best we’ve got which is what the world needs from each of us.  Our personal innovation becomes the world’s renovation.  So I, for one, wish to take my friend’s insight and be part of the world’s solutions.  I want to bust through the barriers I create with my mind or my tiredness or my inexperience and get to the other side, where I am certain that the best awaits us all.

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3 responses to “The world needs innovation not continuation.”

  1. Anna Guest-Jelley

    Very timely post for me, my friend. I was just talking myself into continuation, but now I’m going to shake that out and see what’s what. Thanks!

  2. Dana Udall-Weiner

    This is spot on and speaks to what I’ve been thinking about lots recently–the courage to be a beginner, and to engage in growth, rather than stew in stagnation. Particularly meaningful this time of year as the natural world’s innovation and growth becomes so obvious.

  3. Mid-Week Balance: 18 May 2011

    […] I’m going to keep pointing you in her direction. This week, as she writes about the need for innovation in our lives and in our work, Rosie does a lovely job of illustrating how we talk ourselves out of […]

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