Today I listened to a fascinating discussion. It took place on Krista Tippet’s “On Being” Podcast (listen to it here). She interviewed Anil Dash. He’s a blogger, entrepreneur, and technologist. Anil Dash is on a crusade to make technology more humane and moral. It’s a tall task. But the thing about the interview that stood out to me came way toward the end. When discussing new tech startups Dash’s question is not: “What if you fail?”; but: “What if you succeed?” In other words, what impact will the success of new technology have on the world?
It’s a very interesting question. It turns on its head our usual thoughts. We are so afraid of failing that we often fail to think through what would happen if we succeed. But when we do, we don’t take a step forward because we’re scared. We are actually afraid of success. With success comes responsibility. It means we might just have to carry through on promises. When we succeed it might mean that we have to change. And very few people truly like change.
I was listening to this podcast as I came home from a Church Council meeting. At the meeting we had a great discussion about ways our leaders could engage more of our members through one-one-one interviews and discussions. Doing so would create a fabric that engages people in action that could bring about great “success” in reaching people outside of the church. But that success would bring about change. And very few church-goers like change.
It’s one of the things my wife, Tammy, had to wrestle with as she contemplated quitting her job and starting a new business. What if that business would succeed? It would mean learning new things, working long hours, and figuring out how to take next steps. But it’s an exciting journey and risk she was willing to take.
With success comes responsibility. It means hard work. Learning and education are necessary. Change is inevitable.
But doesn’t life consist of constant change? So why not lean into success?
Before you do, consider all of its implications. You might just discover that it’s completely worth it.
What would success look like for you?