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In March 2017 Jason Averbook, Thought Leader and Author spoke to a packed conference room at HR Tech World. It was a powerful presentation with a clear and key message, a call to action – Be Smart, Be Bold and Be Brave! He asked, ‘Are you brave enough to fail?’ Then he moved on to talk about OSM’s (Oh S**t Moments) and how we should embrace them.

I think it’s fair to say we’ve probably all had them and there were certainly a lot of people in the room that could relate to what he was saying. So, on the back of that I wanted to look at this a little more.

From my experience the best OSM’s (yes I did say the best) happen way outside your comfort zone. They happen when you’ve stuck your head above the parapet and decided to do something radically different or you’ve decided to stand up and voice an alternative opinion. They happen when you’ve got yourself into a situation where you can’t turn back and probably don’t want to go back anyway, things will never be the same after an OSM.

I can tell you I’ve had a few, early in my career I made a leap to move to London, leaving behind all of the security and comfort of family, friends and a cool job in my home town in Barrow-in-Furness. I was so scared when I first arrived in London that I walked everywhere because I didn’t want to use the tube. Eventually I got braver. I left another job to go on tour with an Industrial Metal Band, I got tattoos, even after the tattooist told me that society would view me differently after I’d had them (he was right). I’ve had some fairly hairy show down OSM’s in my HR career too where I needed to stick to my values in order to do the right thing for myself and the business I was working for. And then another huge OSM when a commercial idea outside of my HR remit got signed off and I then needed to deliver on it (I did and it was great.)

Sometimes you see them coming and can go into them with your eyes open and sometimes you don’t. They happen to you. You can’t always control them but what you can do is control how you respond to them.

So I agree with Jason Averbook. We can be smart about this, as part of planning for our own development we can go knowingly outside of our comfort zone. Look at our own action plans and add an OSM goal to them. It’s only by doing things differently that we will transform and reach our true potential. It’s ok to set yourself a target and a stretch target. It’s ok to be different, to be bold.

It takes grit and guts to put yourself out there, to take the knocks and get back up. To re-invent ourselves and to achieve more and for most people OSM’s are inevitable. We all have our reasons for doing what we do, we’re motivated by different factors and we all have the ability to be brave. So I agree – Be smart, Be Bold and Be Brave. Be brave enough to fail, brave enough to put your neck on the line when you need to. Embrace your OSM’s because they come to you for a reason, they make you see things differently, they change things, they make you who you are today and will help you be the person you want to be tomorrow.





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