What I love about this event the most, so far, is that it shakes me up in every sense. And I am not talking about Austin’s last standing mechanical bull on 6th Street, although that shook me up pretty well last night as well. I am referring to being inspired to look at my profession, career and ideals from a new angle, in order to find the missed opportunities.
When I am trying to break the ice, I often refer to myself as a control freak controller. Although the reference is meant as a joke, I, and anyone who knows me well, know that there is a fair bit of truth behind it. The reality is that for the majority of us it is really easy to fall into a pattern, especially one that has been proven to work and bring us a level of success that we are confortable with. It is in our nature to search for safety and avoid chaos to the extent that when we know the road well, we pretty much switch to autopilot with confidence that we will continue to do a good job as long as we stay on track.
This ideology works to a certain extent, but in the fast competitive world we live in is not good enough for anyone who wants to stand out and really get ahead. In fact, the truly inspiring stories show us that the most amazing ideas lie in the chaos where few dare to look, let alone jump into head-first.
If we want to avoid being left behind by our competition, and better yet succeed, in today’s world we cannot afford to stick to the well known path. We must take a chance, we must stand out, we must break our chains of comfort and safety, we must take risks and allow new developments to shake us out of our routine. We must let ourselves be inspired by people like Jeremy Gutsche, to stop thinking like a farmer and start thinking like a hunter. At the same time, gearing up for change is not easy, especially when it comes to technological change, whose backbone we might not fully understand.
Monday’s opening keynote had me all rallied up about change, innovation, acting on your instinct, taking the leap and the risk. Tuesday morning’s keynote session, about hacking and the vulnerabilities all the great new technologies expose us to, made me want to turn off my Wi-Fi connection and trade-in my smartphone for notepad and a fountain pen. So how do you reconcile the two, how do you find the balance?
I do not think there is a secret formula that will ever guarantee success, but I do believe that HITEC, the Controllers Conference and similar educational events are the closest thing to it, because they not only show us the amazing potential that is out there, but also teach us about the risks involved and give us the tools we need to face reality.