It’s so easy to keep on doing the same ol’-same ol’. No stress, no effort, no real change. Even if you’re the leader, the person people cling to, ask for help and depend on, chances are you yourself are not growing. You need to hang out with people who are playing bigger than you are, who are steps ahead of you, if not miles ahead.
If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
I’m no fan of learning new technical things. It’s much easier to stick with what I know. However, if I want to get my books formatted for ereaders, I have to learn a program that does that. If I want to make talking head videos, I have to learn a program that does that.
Which means that I have to challenge myself. I have to play outside my comfort zone. I have to go and learn from people who are ahead of me in the work I want to do.
It’s OK to be second or third or fourth best
How can you learn if you don’t spend time with people who’re doing it better and differently than you do? If you’re always the teacher, how do you expand beyond what you already know? Find people who can teach you – a little or a lot – people with more experience, or more wisdom, or more whatever you need. Then learn from them.
It took me a while to realize I needed to find a new tribe, that the people in my senior community were not traveling in the same direction that I wanted to go. I went online, defined myself more clearly and people found me. I’m now in a group of seekers and explorers who are singing a deeper song, making a profound difference in their world and inspiring me to travel steadily on my own path.
Take bits and pieces from the people you journey with
As you begin to define your own adventure, you need new skills. One person can teach you how to pack your backpack better, another can teach you how to read the stars for guidance. Figure out what you need to learn and go and find someone to teach it to you.
I spent six hours on an online video course on podcasting. I made five trips to the Apple store to get up to speed on my new MacBook Air after 20 years on a PC. Though I knew what I should be able to do, I just needed to know how to do it on that platform.
When I started to podcast, I researched equipment from people who were experts in equipment. I was on a webinar and got some insights into how to improve and increase my storytelling skills. I simply take what resonates with me, adapt it to my own needs, and give it a try.
Seek out new resources
There’s one online person I greatly admire. He’s been an inspirational mentor for me. And yet, he’s taking his business in a direction that I don’t need to go in any more. He’s no longer a resource for me.
I can only challenge myself when I seek specific information and guidance from resources that are more relevant to what I need in this particular moment in time. I gather bits and pieces from many sources. No one person can fulfill all your needs. Identify several sources of inspiration and visit them often.
Clarify the direction of your own work
Your work will change as you expand your own awareness and sense of self. As you encounter new ideas, measure them to see if they help you move in the direction that feels best for you.
Figure out your personal measuring stick for accepting new ideas.
I don’t want to be a public speaker, for instance, but I do want to deliver a good podcast and video. I study the parts about delivery and script organization and online teleprompter and editing. Take what you need and leave the rest.
I’m exploring esoteric topics like “who am I?” and “what is the meaning of life?”. I’ve developed a philosophy based on my search and on what resonates with me. I’ve learned to take a new idea, see if it fits with the direction I’m going, shape it until it does or doesn’t, leave some of it behind, and absorb the concept into my work to move me forward.
Challenge yourself by changing the people you hang out with
You truly don’t always want to be the funniest or the brightest or the most intelligent. We learn from others who’re doing it better than we are. Their level of accomplishment challenges us to reach higher and dig deeper to bring out the best in us.
Whether you go and hang out in online groups, or listen to TED talks, or subscribe to blogs that resonate, make certain that you’ve not outgrown some of the people you hang out with. The more focused you are in one direction, the deeper you have to look for the information and guidance you need next.
Challenge helps you grow
There’s always something new to learn. For me, it’s often technical. But each time I record and edit a podcast or write another ebook, or create another post, I increase my skill. I’ve learned to bring the idea forward, shape it into the message I want to convey, and produce it in the format I’ve decided on. Each time I do this, I get better, I develop a new awareness, I increase a skill.
Challenge is good. Challenge is stimulation. Challenge stretches your horizons.
What small step do you need to take to open up a new opportunity? What challenge will help you grow?
To Sing a Deeper Song consider:
Your Work as You
How to Find Your Work Rhythm
The Sit Around, Turn It Off Day
How Flexibility Impacts Change
Stop Overwhelm with a Tangible Beginning and an End
Are You Afraid to Try?
20 – Why Are You In Service?
10– What Will Change Because Of What You Are About To Do?
13 – The Gift of a New Beginning
14- How Strong is the Foundation You Build On