There are several definitions of the word incubator.
- An enclosed apparatus providing a controlled environment for the care and protection of premature or unusually small babies.
- An apparatus used to hatch eggs or grow microorganisms under controlled conditions.
- An organization designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services.
In each definition though the common theme is a controlled environment. A premature baby needs to be protected from infection, kept at a certain temperature and given proper levels of oxygen. In a lab setting an incubator is used to grow organisms that might be used to create drugs or to culture infections. Again the key issue is controlling the moisture, temperature and chemical composition. For a business incubator one is looking to provide the key ingredients for success; technology support, financial support and business expertise.
So why is controlling an environment so important anyway? For the premature baby it could mean the difference between life and death. For a scientist growing organisms being able to replicate the process is critical to scale a drug or to be able to isolate what went wrong in an experiment. And entrepreneurs face many pitfalls and being in an environment with people who have been there and done that can increase the chances for success.
So delicate and important things are put in an incubator to insure they have the right environment to grow and develop. Sounds to me like a good idea for all of us. If you want to grow and develop yourself personally or professionally it would only make sense that a controlled environment would be a huge help. If you were trying to study for an exam hanging out in the party house would be an uncontrolled environment. Likewise if someone were trying to diet or stop drinking, putting themselves in a group of eaters and drinkers would make things more difficult.
So what is your controlled environment? Your environment is not just made of the people and the places you hang with, it is also made of the thoughts and energy you surround yourself with. What air are you breathing? What thoughts are you thinking? Have you surrounded yourself with people who believe you can or people who try to pull you down? There may be people in your life who are the equivalent of opening the door to the incubator and letting in bacteria.
You must be your own incubator and be vigilant about the environment you are growing in. Premature babies survive because of their incubators, but you can thrive because of yours.