Distinction: Growth Choices vs Safe Choices
Yesterday I took a 10-minute Uber home and had the opportunity to have a great conversation with the driver, Chinedu, about his life and work. I learned so much from him.
One of the things he told me was that several years ago, when he was starting his supply chain business in Nabimia, he was putting a lot of his time, energy and money in it, but he was not getting back the profit he expected. Everyone thought he was crazy for investing so much in something that didn't appear it'd work.
He thought about quitting many times but for some reason, he kept showing up and testing what would make the business grow.
I asked him “What made you continue despite the challenges?”
He said he did that because he saw the value in his product. What I heard is that he was willing to be bold and take the risk on what he believed, even when the odds were not in his favour.
Now his business has grown to the point where he barely needs to manage it because he has a team of staff looking after it.
I am sitting here reflecting on that while reading a passage from the book Straight Line Leadership in which the author talks about a distinction called Growth Choices vs Safe Choices:
“When faced with a choice between two options, don’t forget to ask yourself, ‘which option would be most likely to grow me? And which option is most likely to just keep me safe?’ A growth option will empower you no matter what the outcome.” - Dusan Djukich
This is powerful.
Our usual tendency is to move towards what is already familiar, what is safe and what we already know. But this question cuts through that and asks us to “consider a stance that does not value or seek safety.”
This is about moving forward despite the fear and, rather than trusting that it will all “work out”, to choose growth because of a stance we are willing to take. The focus is on being bold first and looking at the results later.
To me, this illustrates one of the qualities of a great leader: Conviction.
But not the kind of conviction that says “I know it all and I am never wrong”, but the kind of conviction that has a person stick their flag on the ground for what they believe, knowing full well that’s just one perspective and that they are free to move that flag to another spot at any time - and when they do so, they will stick it with conviction again.
Can you see the link with Chinedu’s story?
When I heard him I saw a person who was willing to choose growth at a moment when everyone was telling him to do the safe thing.
His business could very well have failed - which is the case with many - but by practicing being bold to stay undistractedly committed to a path, this way of showing up would eventually lead to a success in something else. It'd just be a matter of time.
So I'll leave you with this question from the author Dusan Djukich:
"What if you consciously made growth choices throughout your business week?" What would that look like?
And if you'd like to explore this way of being in your business, I am happy to have a conversation and help you apply it. If you are interested in that, please contact me.