Life is risk…

Sfumato, an Italian word, when translated to English means “soft, vague, or blurred.” Sfumato is derived from “Fumo” (smoke,fume). According to Leonardo da Vinci, sfumato is a crucial ingredient to genius. He used this technique in his most famous painting, Mona Lisa, but to him sfumato was more than a blurring of the lines on his creative canvases. Sfumato was something he embraced in work and life. You see, Leonardo knew that ambiguity was ever present. You know this as well. Very rarely, in life, are the moments of truth, crucial conversations, or critical decisions we face, seen with 20/20 clarity. At best, we see the big picture somewhat clearly but the details, many times, are but a blur. Leaders, understand this truth.

Leaders embrace ambiguity. Normal humans hesitate. Leaders choose action. Normal humans let anxiety stop them in their tracks. Sfumato is not going away tomorrow. Seems, the more data analytics we deliver, the more anxious we are becoming that there must be one more proof before we can act with confidence. Genius comes when we practice curiosity, test our theories, engage all our senses, embrace ambiguity, and make decisions while normal teams hesitate.

Embrace sfumato, leader, and make more decisions. The risk involved in not deciding is just as real as the risk involved in deciding. Since we can’t calculate the cost of inaction or indecision as clearly as the cost of shooting on the mat, a triple backflip on the beam, having the hard convo with our high performer, making a bet on Franklinton, or setting performance standards sure to send shudders through your system, we decide to wait, delay, and play defensive. Embrace sfumato, leader. Life is risk. Lean in. It’s so much more fun when you take some calculated risk and go for it. You know this. Now let’s do this. Good…

1 thought on “Life is risk…

  1. Sfumato is my happiest place in business, but my scariest place with people. I love the unknown of business and projects. In fact I have no business being as ‘successful’ in business as I am. If people knew how little I know when I start a company, they’d be shocked. I have blind faith that I’ll figure it out, and guess what, I always do. When I opened my first pizza restaurant 9 years ago, I had to teach myself how to fold a pizza box when the first customer said ‘to go, please’. Let that sink in. Then there’s the problem of getting to know someone new with no agenda but to get to know them, and then trusting that person by sharing my true self. Terrifying! I always just chalked it up to being an introvert, and weird. The problem is I’m missing out. Not just on true meaningful relationships, but more importantly on love and purpose. Now I must face my fears and embrace sfumato. Look at how far it’s got me in business. Imagine what could happen with people. I might just do something meaningful.

    Sent from my iPhone


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