Be Fearless: TEDx MidAtlantic 2012

“It’s time for us to take risks, be bold, and fail forward. It’s time for us to be fearless”–TEDx MidAtlantic 2012

I attended TEDx MidAtlantic last week. The theme for 2012 was “Be Fearless.” This was my first TEDx event, so I wasn’t sure what to expect at first. I’ve been inspired by the TED talks I’ve watched online, so I had high hopes for this event. I wasn’t disappointed. The speakers were well-selected and spoke on timely topics. From a personal standpoint, I got a lot out of the event. However, I also gained some insight into my business. Specifically, there were 3 ways I felt were particularly applicable to how I lead my business.

1. Stop funding stagnancy.

In the past, when people needed a solution, they’d post a cash prize and wait for people to come up with solutions. We’ve gotten away from this model recently, and spend too much on patronages of sorts (funding people who we hope will solve the problem). My takeaway was that we need to stop funding failure and start tying the reward to the solution. Failure can be a valuable tool; however, accepting failure can sometimes result in lessening the rewards of success. We need to be purposeful in making success a big deal and emphasizing solving the problem. Sometimes you just need to start.

2. Start small, think big.

When “Give an Hour” founder Barbara Van Dahlen spoke, it hit me that many great ideas can start in a small way. You don’t have to found a huge charity right out of the gate; but at the same time, you can think big even when you’re small. It’s about finding workable solutions and taking baby steps to fulfilling your loftiest goals. It’s tempting to bite off more than we can chew; avoiding over-extension doesn’t mean stop dreaming. It takes courage to find ways to fulfill your goals that work for your life.

3. Get outside of your box.

Lieutenant General Mark Hertling’s Army career took a turn when he was sent back to school to learn about physical fitness. This sparked a lifelong passion for the childhood health crisis sweeping the United States. Outside of your business, what are your interests? What are you passionate about?
Basically, these invaluable business lessons reinforced the idea that business insight can be found anywhere–not just in the boardroom, but at places like TEDx MidAtlantic 2012, or in the hobbies that we have. It’s nice to have a fresh perspective from which business ideas can be gleaned.