How to Find Your Breakthrough


If you already know the answer, you’re not going anywhere.

I don’t think you can lead if you hate surprises. Leaders rise up during uncertainty and press through ambiguity; they embrace surprises. But how? Why?

The surprising truth is surprises
represent the path to breakthroughs.

Soren Kaplan thought he knew about giant leaps forward until he had his own. It happened in a surprising coffee shop in France where he’d taken his family to live while he worked and wrote his book on breakthroughs.

Kaplan says, “When I began this book, I thought I knew where big breakthroughs came from.” Not surprisingly when Soren told his publisher he wanted to write a book about surprises they told him, “Leaders don’t want to read about surprises. They don’t like them.”

Soren prevailed and the newly releases book Leapfrogging: Harnessing the Power of Surprise for Business Breakthroughs is the result.

“If things are entirely clear all the time it’s less likely you’ll have a breakthrough.” Soren Kaplan.

Kaplan told me dealing with the unknown – the feeling of lack of control – is essential to breaking through.

“We have a tendency to go back to the behavior that has given comfort in the past. We try to establish stability and certainty.” Soren Kaplan.

I’ve seen the tendency to run for comfort in my own life. We come to the place of uncomfortable uncertainty and turn around. Seeking comfort ends breaking through.

Kaplan suggests:

  1. Stop pretending you know when you don’t. Believing you know enough ends learning.
  2. Realize surprises challenge assumptions.
  3. Do something and learn. Research shows it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something that aligns with values and seems right.
  4. Take the smallest step you can take that gives the biggest impact.

Where do breakthroughs come from?

How do you navigate the surprising world of surprises?