Step Away From the Tower

It’s August!  When I was a kid, many of my friends’ birthdays, and mine, fell within a 10 day span in August.  We’d have a week of non-stop birthday parties and each day some unlucky mom got a bunch of boys tearing up her house and yard.

When I was 10, my mom decided it would be a good idea to take us all to the World’s Fair which was going on in NY at the time.  It took place in Flushing Meadow Park where the tennis facility is now.  That big globe – the Unisphere – you see on the tennis coverage sometimes is a relic of the Fair, one of the few that remain along with the NY State Pavilion, or as we call it in my family, the scene of the crime.

My mom doesn’t deal well with heights and of course all the little boys had to get up in the NY Pavilion RIGHT AWAY so we could see the whole fair.  We ran from the elevators as we got up there, up a flight of stairs to a higher level while my mother put a bear hug on the center support of the towers.  There she stayed while we ran around upstairs.  She was nowhere even close to the edge but the mere thought that she might get close scared her.  Eventually she sent a Boy Scout up after us because she couldn’t move.  I don’t know if she thought she was going to fall or the tower was going to fall but she was hanging on either way.

Cute, but of course it reminds me that our fears can often paralyze us.  Many executives cling to that center tower while there is a glorious view right upstairs.  Sure, the walk up may be a little scary but it’s usually safer than you think.

In digital, safe is dead, I think.  The business will be gone before you realize that there are guard rails all around you and act.  Stupid is just as dead, so the trick is to take smart risks based on the best information you have.

It’s a lot of years later and the tower is still there (so, thankfully, is Mom – here, I mean, not at the Tower – we got her down!).  The smart risks haven’t all worked out but they’ve made for a great view most of the time.

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Filed under Consulting, Thinking Aloud

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