late to the game

I’m always a tad late. And in our time-focused society, this is typically perceived as a flaw.

To be on time is professional. To be tardy is unacceptable.  But what if the reason outweighs the standard? What if the lack of attentiveness to time is simply because of another, sometimes more critical, focus? You know the feeling. When you are focused so intensely on the moment, so engaged, that time ceases to exist? It is in these moments of deep engagement that plans become solidified, relationships are cultivated, innovations take form and deals are finalized. 

Thus this flaw, my “biggest flaw,” is actually, strategically, my “biggest asset.”

I am also late to this game: the world of blogging. It’s 2018 and you are doing what? Launching a blog? That is so outdated. I know. I know. The world of social media marketing and brand management via an online presence is way beyond blogging.  And again, I used to perceive such tardiness as a flaw. If you’re not going to be first, why do something at all, right?

But after hearing the TEDtalk by Simon Sinek on “How Great Leaders Inspire Action," I started to think differently – watch the part in the middle about the Law of Diffusion of Innovation. He draws a curve, a bell curve to be precise, and talks about market penetration via percentages outside and inside the curve. At the same time I saw this TEDTalk I was reading Adam Grant’s "The Originals." I saw the visual of the curve and something clicked.

I started to realize that I was an Outlier, an Original, someone who was often outside of the bell curve not part of the masses,

but rather an innovator or early adopter or even at times what Sinek calls a “lagger,” one that is simply late to the game. And I started to see that most creatives are such – outside of the bell curve, not in tune with the masses nor desire to be part of “popular” culture or thought. But pride themselves on being “ahead of the curve” in determining the latest in art, music, fashion, consumer goods, travel plans, entertainment, etc. These are people who will shun something simply because everyone else is doing it, buying it, watching it, wearing it, and urge to be a tad different.  Ah, these are my people. I’m not going to buy that Gucci GG logo belt because it is “hot” – it’s overplayed, and thus unoriginal. But I may wear it come 2030 when it could be called vintage. I’d rather be late sometimes.

The benefit of being late? Well, you get to observe what others have done and done well. As well as assess the mistakes others have made in an effort to learn from their errors and not replicate them.  When you spend most of your life observing, digesting and analyzing, it takes awhile to develop the proper strategy of action. You move slowly, tactfully and with purpose.

You are in the moment, poignantly. You are deeply engaged, committed, present. You are authentically poised, genuine in your beliefs and intimate knowledge. And you didn’t get there by swift decisions. You took your time. And when you take your time, you are often late.

So, I apologize for my tardiness. I know. I’m late. I’m late to this game. But only because I was watching from the sidelines.

Now, I am ready to play.