Bear-Hug Surprises

Bear-Hug Surprises

If you’ve been in the same industry for an extended period of time, you know one thing. Most moves are predictable as all get out. You can assume what the next Teams call will sound like. You can predict the next assignment, email request, or learning agenda, and eye rolls when the camera is off are inevitable. There can be very little left to the imagination in business anymore.

 Now before you lash out at the need for structure, process, and standards…hang tight. Because if you know me even a tiny bit by now, you know I love a solid strategy, goals, and planning really hard! In fact, it’s a bit out of control if I’m being honest (hence my deeper dive and study into the benefits) of giving surprise a big ole bear hug! It’s not easy for an ex-uptight corporate type-A gal!

The Benefits


Mistakes shouldn’t be surprising to any organization, but creating an environment where ideas are so controlled, and newness is never welcomed-makes surprises (aka creativity) off-limits versus welcomed. Your employees fear the idea of bringing anything to the table because ideas aren’t well received.

“Give them responsibility, let the mistakes happen, and let people fix them. If there is fear, there is a reason—our job is to find the reason and to remedy it. Management’s job is not to prevent risk but to build the ability to recover.”
Ed Catmull

 As an organization, you will benefit immensely by normalizing new ideas and mistakes.

 This is just one way! I’ll share a great book with you at the end that will be monumental for your management and leadership teams if this is a struggle internally.


If we take the workplace out of the equation, we can all benefit from getting up close and personal with learning to embrace surprises.

Some of us may say, “I hate surprises,” but they really can be awesome when we let them in and give them that bear hug, we have a hell of a lot more fun in our relationships, our businesses, and everyday life.

 How to start embracing

We are all familiar with a fixed mindset and growth mindset, but have you familiarized yourself with the “fresh eyes” mindset?

 This is mentally looking at a scenario as if it’s the first time you are experiencing any given situation or relationship. Examples: Treat dinner with your spouse like a first date or pretend it’s your first day on the job. Even though it’s not really the case, guess what?

 We leave the “baggage” at the door and become more mentally available to accept and create new ideas. Give it a try!

 If you’re in the workplace, come to the table or the boss with your big ideas for improvement or your audacious career goals. What have you got to lose? Worst case scenario, you get a “No, Becca, we’d have to run it by legal, and it’s likely not happening!” (If I had a nickel for every time I heard that). Best case, they see you have some really great ideas and start viewing you as leadership material.

This barely scratches the surface of how embracing the element of surprise can serve you and your organization, but start thinking about how you could be more flexible in areas where you’re simply rigid. Let’s continue to unravel together, my friends. I’ll leave you with this:

 Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully.
Henri Nouwen

 Bonus Material:

If you’re looking to learn how Pixar has been able to maintain creativity and nurture it through acquisition by Disney and failed attempts at multiple films. Or if you simply want to learn some skills that can help you as an individual looking for creativity ramp up, do yourself a favor and listen to Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. You won’t be disappointed!