As a business owner, professional, or student, we always strive to make progress. We expect to do better than yesterday and the day before. Yet, from time to time, we find ourselves mired in the same mix of challenges and unable to break free, no matter the effort! Why do you think it’s that way? Is the effort just not enough or the resolve not that strong, you wonder!
This is where I would like to re-introduce you to the concept of unfamiliarity and the excitement plus adventure it can bring along while nudging you on the less trodden path of growth! You see, progress doesn’t come about by doing what you have repeatedly done, but by going off tangent, now and then and trying again.
Instead of repeatedly doing what didn’t work for you, why not seek new connections, new avenues and new means of growing your career or business?
There’s no harm in doing that, is there? What do you have to lose except that what you have been repeatedly trying is not working and the outcome will not be any different unless you change one of the inputs?
Seek out unlikely ways of doing things; perhaps rope your clients in, to advise on internal challenges! Though unlikely and may raise a few eyebrows, but guess what, a fresh pair of external eyes may spot something that you or your team doesn’t, no matter how much you scour familiar territory.
Each one of us tends to live in a bubble that we are comfortable in. Even when we have to step out of our self drawn boundaries, we seek out complementary contacts and known work terrain as we again, hate to leave our comfort zone. Familiarity is great, no doubt! It’s known to us, its safe and we feel at our best around what we know. As a result, we tend to ride on demonstrable success, knowledge and expertise.
But, it’s also here, in familiar terrain that we often get stuck and cannot move forward or make progress when we are at our best right here. And, the way we try to get unstuck is to reach out to known entities!
Especially, when we all know that often times, breakthrough ideas come from unchartered territories and unknown quantities!
There are people, places, and industries unknown to each of us. Who knows, they could lead you down the rabbit hole, only to find the wonderland!
All it takes is to step away from chartered paths and take an unknown alley for once! While you may fear the dragon breathing fire from the darkness, it may lead you down the path of your next adventure, your next growth story!
So, how do we dare to venture on less traversed paths, meet strangers and yet, seek out the light of inspiration? How do we break free from our shackles of familiarity? Well, here are a few tips for you!
- The next time you are faced with a predicament you are trying to solve, don’t go to the experts you always rely on; instead, go to someone you may least likely reach out to. Don’t give in to your thinking of who fits the bill to help you. Let chance be in control. Who knows, you may be pleasantly surprised at the perspective you get.
- When you seek out conferences to network and learn from, don’t make it always about your domain. Attend and glean from the one you have nothing to do with and reflect on what you have learned, in line with its applicability in your domain. It’s also an opportunity to make new friends, totally distant & different from who you always knew.
- When trying to tackle a challenge, seek out your answers where they are rarely sought. Don’t follow the sheep in the pasture!
- Expand your network to include acquaintances and friends from other areas, professions, and cultures. It will keep you charged up, keep life interesting, and you, on the edge of learning.
- If you are creative, go technical for a while and learn there. If a techie nerd, explore your creativity. Don’t make assumptions and challenge it, just go with the flow.
- Do some self-introspection. Who are you? What is your story? What are you telling the world and what does your inner being tell you about who you are? You may be surprised at things you never noticed about yourself that need to come to the fore, for you to lead a full life!
- Novelty and growth can mean the difference in adding life to your years vs. adding years to your life. Make the pursuit of new things a habit. That’s one way to sustain growth over a long period of time while retaining the sense of adventure.
- Don’t be judgmental before you have been somewhere & heard something. Listen and act in ways where you leave judgment behind and focus on facts. Your prowess of listening and assessment will change for the better.
- Don’t fear seeking help when you need it. We all tend to do better with external insights.
Our mind has no limitations. We are the ones who confine it with our pre-conceived notions and the limitations we impose. Set it free! Treat others fairly and expect to be treated as such. No compromises on that!
Love those around you and expect to be loved equally. Depend on yourself more than others. Don’t expect to be shielded from adversity and challenges. Be ready to tackle what’s thrown at you. Capitalize on your strengths. But, more importantly, find strength in your weaknesses by finding ways to fulfill them so you are balanced. Be cognizant of your experiences and help others with them, where you can.
Don’t go looking for confidence outside, it’s within you! Find and greet it in everything you do! Don’t seek acceptance, demand it, and give it freely as well. Nurture a dream and follow it passionately. Make it happen and face reality. And, that reality is what you make of it!
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