At some point in my career I became “the go-to gal”. I was the one who held the knowledge of “how things work here”. I grew to love this unofficial role. My fellow co-workers sought me out for my help and knowledge. Executives in other departments deferred to me to figure out a viable solution whenever a problem came up that involved my department.
During one review period, we utilized an anonymous process of gathering feedback on our work performance. I was shocked to learn my peers found my skill of being able to answer their questions as irritating. One peer wrote “She always has the right answer. Can’t she let us figure it out once in a while?”.
Wow. What I thought was a helpful skill was perceived by others as holding them back. We’ve all heard the phrase “knowledge is power” and I was guilty of wielding mine.
I realized I had fallen into a rut. I had lost my curiosity. Curiosity is the key to creativity and to continuing to grow and develop. When any living thing stops growing, it starts to age, revert, regress, decay and eventually die. I don’t know about you, but the thought of that happening to my mind was enough to push me into taking action to continue to grow!
In order to continue to grow and develop, we need to commit to a few things that may feel uncomfortable at first.
Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. When we get into our comfort zones, we tend to get complacent. When we get complacent in our personal lives, we fail to reach our full potential. When companies get complacent in their business, they get left behind and their innovative competitors take the lead.
Get over yourself. As children, we didn’t worry about what others thought about us. We didn’t worry that our questions would make us look foolish. We just asked the questions. We didn’t worry if we would look dumb by doing something new. We just did it. When we start feeling and acting like we know it all, we stop the learning process. We need to get over our ego.
Get out of your box. The box may represent our home, office or routine. Whatever it is in our lives that has walls around it (physically or figuratively), is holding us back. Take a different route today. What new things do you see? Instead of sitting at your desk, walk around and chat with your co-workers. What are they doing/learning in their lives that’s exciting to them? Attempt to learn something new every day. Intuitively, I know I need to do this, but some days I don’t feel like making the effort. Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner says, “You’re more likely to act yourself into a feeling than feel yourself into an action.” So I do it anyway, whether I “feel” like it or not, because I choose growing over dying, every day.