Slow Death by Butter Knife
- Angelique Milojevic
- On October 24, 2012
Failure and success are always interesting subjects but what of that space in-between. That space where you’re neither failing but you’re not really succeeding either. That space where you’re too scared to take risks and too scared to stand out. That space where you follow industry norms and do the same as everyone else and its business as usual – the playing safe space. I’ve seen many people and many businesses in this space (including mine) and we’re not always aware of the insidiousness of its nature.
So if you’re just about making money, or having a comfortable lifestyle, then this article is, most likely, irrelevant. If you just want to build and sell your business so you can retire than you most likely don’t need to read further…
BUT, if you want to make a difference, if you want to make an impact, or the thought of disrupting the industry you’re in, secretly excites you, then keep reading. If there’s a rebellious teenager inside screaming to get out then playing it safe is just plain wrong on so many levels. Playing safe means no experimentation, no questioning the status quo, no trying new things; doing things how they’ve always been done; following the industry leader; and accepting anything that people tell you as truths. No risk taking for fear of failure or fear of loss. That’s like hacking away at the neck of your business with a butter knife as it slowly bleeds out, towards a very slow death.
That slow death may take you five years in your business or it may take twenty. It might happen after a failure or two and the play it safe mode kicks in. It also might happen after a string of successes followed by a large period of complacency. The play it safe space is everywhere. For some real world examples, think about Kodak, Borders, newspapers, Block Busters and the list goes on.
What’s so perverse about slow death by butter knife is the gradual and cumulative effect of this kind of behaviour and the thinking that created it. It’s rife in old stuffy industries. It’s rife in small business. It’s rife in those that don’t want to think and don’t want to work on their business. That’s also mediocrity at its worst. Perhaps this sounds dramatic to you. You can wait and find out whether what I say is true or you can do something about it.
So what do you choose…slow death by butter knife? Or do you choose something more disruptive? And perhaps that’s your first step.
Three Core Qualities an Entrepreneur Needs... October 3, 2012 | Rebekah Campbell
Leo Babauta’s Guide to Overcoming Self Doubt... June 6, 2012 | White Spaces
Building Businesses With Three Words: No, Big, Deal... July 25, 2012 | Rui Rodrigues
The Manifesto for Surviving and Prospering in Tough Times…... August 20, 2012 | The Bull