There have always been explorers, from Magellan, Columbus, and Amelia Earhart to modern day adventurers like Robert Young Pelton, John Goddard and Jeff Corwin. And for every explorer there is a crowd of people shouting, “You are wasting your time! You are chasing a delusion! You are following a path to destruction…” (Okay, never mind, that was what my friends and colleagues have said to me!) Skeptics abound where explorers dare to dream, and the other crowd that gathers is the cowards. Those are the ones who say they will go AFTER the path is laid, After the path has been proven safe and AFTER there is a safe number of other cowards to walk with.

Exploring new business models or learning methods is no different. It takes an explorer to go first, to try new technologies, to dare to fail…or succeed! How many times have we heard, “Twitter is dead!” “No one will ever attend a serious business meeting or class in a virtual 3D environment!” “Facebook is on its way out and it is not a business tool!”? More times that we can count. The future depends upon those who will venture out into unchartered waters. Those who embrace the unknown or unproven to try something so radically different that others whisper as they walk by, “She’s the crazy one who has students using their cell phones in class!” “He’s the one who gives his product away for free and thinks he will make money…and what’s up with a name like Google?”

Last week I spoke at an event on a technology panel and a woman approached me after and said, “Isn’t all of this just hype? I mean Facebook is for teens to play games and talk about hating their parents. Businesses shouldn’t be wasting their time with these when there is real work to be done.” After I suggested anger management classes to her, I started to explain that we can no longer do business the way we used to do, and the new world of business requires new tools and then I stopped. I realized she would not be persuaded by such a lunatic as I. She would need to wait safely on that other side of the digital CANYON for the next covered wagon to come and get her. Ironically, that same day we read that Facebook reached an important milestone for the week ending March 13, 2010 and surpassed Google in the US to become the most visited website for the week. Yep, sounds like a waste of time for sure.

What waters must you cross to reach the new world in your business? Who is telling you it can’t be done? Who is saying they won’t follow you? Remember, the future is already here, but only the explorers are bold enough to enjoy it! There are oceans of opportunities waiting…are you an explorer, skeptic or coward?

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Share your thoughts on exploring new worlds in your business or industry. Where is going? What are you doing to prepare?

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