Tag Archives | risks

The Perfect Time to Be a Heretic

burn the hereticBack in ye olden times, any person who actively preached and acted against accepted dogma was branded a heretic. Unfortunately for these courageous characters it often meant a date with a stake and torches. The penalties (like flaming death) for committing such acts of heresy were enough to keep most folk in line. They figured out pretty quickly that it was far preferable to do what everyone else was doing and conform to the norms of the community.

Funny how things don’t really change. In our nonprofits, we still cling to the cult of Best Practices. We easily swallow conventional wisdom. We seek out industry benchmarks in order to know if our own mediocrity matches up to that of other organizations. In short, we’re scared shitless to take the risk of going against dogma.

Except now, dogma has taken on a much wider definition.

The dogma of not missing revenue targets. The dogma of constantly creating the perfect campaign. The dogma of looking like we’ve always got our shit together. The dogma of needing to please the executive director and Board. The dogma of being an easygoing, likable, agreeable staffer. We all have some sort of dogma getting in our way. Well, that needs to end. Now.

It’s time for a lot more heretical thinking and doing. What does being a heretic mean?

It means giving up best practices.
It means asking “Why?”…a lot.
It means going out on a limb and staying there.
It means having the guts to creatively destroy anything that’s old and busted.

What’s in it for us? Why not just stay easygoing, likable, and agreeable? Why not just keep playing it safe? Because safe is an illusion. Worse, safe is a trap that keeps us from fully igniting the fire of our imaginations and chasing new ideas that can truly impact our causes. I don’t know about you but I’m sick to death of playing it all so damn safe. I’m ready to commit more acts of heresy.

So…what dogma are you willing to give the finger to today? Share yours and I’ll share mine. Let’s go.