The Second Step: Pledge of A Skeptic


We are taught not to focus on the negative. We learn that making checklists of derailments that hold us back is counter productive as we accentuate the bad, the wrong and the ugly. But this short anti-creativity list video by Youngme Moon at Harvard made me pause.

I was actually annoyed when I recognized myself in number 4. The skeptic in me jumped out (skepticism as my middle name). Do I really do that? And I always thought that by playing devil’s advocate I expand the thinking, the scope, the horizon.

Excuses, excuses and more excuses. Sometimes you have to be brave enough to admit that you are not only doing something wrong, but you have been doing something wrong consistently. It’s a first step. So, the question is what’s your second step? Will you choose to do something about it or ignore it, tuck it away in the back of your mind and pretend that you can go about your business as you have always done.

Yes, change does not come natural to people. Being inside your comfort zone and staying put within the status quo feels cozier than the unknown difference out there. But, is it you who really gains by doing nothing?

So, this is a pledge to me: When my lizard brain instinctively kicks in in the form of the skeptic – I will play an internal game. I will play skeptic to my skepticism.

Am I shutting down an idea, a concept that may sound crazy today but hey – give it time and who knows? Am I discouraging someone younger from testing their wings? And, while all debate is valid and constructive criticism and skepticism have their rightful place in the discussion – make it so that the contribution is valuable and use it as building material not a wrecking ball.

Leda Karabela
Leda Karabela's career focus has been building alliances with and among institutional stakeholders, which spans 25 years of experience in international management, public affairs, strategic marketing and philanthropy. Her primary focus has been external audiences, such as opinion leaders, media, customers, and donors.

Today, she is bringing her executive experience into the field of coaching, realizing her passion for people, the ways they click and connect with each other, helping clients discover the power within them to improve their performance, effectiveness and reach. Having held responsibilities for global projects and working with virtual teams in multiple countries for Fortune 50 companies such as BP and Microsoft, she has also led the corporate relations program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and has lived in Boston, San Francisco, London, Athens and Dubai.
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