Stop letting others convince you to not try new things

Trying new things can be tough. There are a million reasons why you may or may not try new things in life. To name just a few... Timing, lack of resources, money, risk, self doubt, distractions, no clarity, not knowing where to start and so many others.

I’ve had the opportunity to jog through my own thoughts and reflect on own career over the course of the last several years, and I’ve noticed a pattern of sorts—especially as it relates to growth, both personally and professionally. Sticking to what you know can help you to become a master of your own domain and an invaluable resource to a team or organization. That’s certainly not all bad. But, for the better or worse, I’m of the personality type where I get uncomfortable  if I’m not challenged enough in certain ways. The feeling of becoming “mentally stale” scares the heck out of me.

Throughout my career, I’ve always struggled to balance accepting the fact that I have finally become really good at something with the constant wonder of what’s next, what else is out there. My brain is naturally wired to wonder what’s next—what else I can be excited about. But now, in my mid-thirties I realize that and have become so much better at harnessing it. In my twenties, it created a lot of anxiety and self doubt and wonder. I’d think, “Is this it? Is this what I want to do most of my days?” For me, it was a real worry.

The good news… I’ve learned that in my personal journey that there is always something new just around the bend. But I’ve also learned to listen to others, mentors, colleagues, bosses, friends, and family and use them as a true sounding board. They know you in ways you may not know yourself. If you’re looking for growth, sound off. Talk to them about what you want, what keeps you up at night, what you strive for, what makes you happy. But be so very careful not to let them convince you to NOT try new things.

For example, Growth Guild is the second business I’ve helped to build as a partner, and am so grateful for having been pushed off the cliff after our team was disassembled from my previous job. At the time, I was scrambling for connections and conversations to quickly find my next thing and in my quest for sound advice, most kindly assured me it’ll be ok and recommended that I just go for a job that hit all of the essentials with a 401k, healthcare, days off, etc. I was almost convinced that was my next best move.

After a few weeks, I woke up. I knew that if I didn’t try to do my own thing, I’d always be left wondering. What could we have done? What could have happened? I was afraid that if I didn’t try it then, my career could take a path in a different swim lane than the one I wanted. So, while all of the advice I got was so important—and genuinely appreciated—I knew in my heart I didn’t want to be convinced not to try to build Growth Guild.

I’ve come dangerously close to not trying something at many various points along my career. Trying new things takes a concerted effort; it’s not easy. It takes a desire to experience failure and seek out new kinds of wins. Don’t take the easy road, whether it means insisting on trying something different or a new approach with your team, exploring a volunteer organization or even venturing out to explore a completely different career path. Let your own thoughts dictate what you are willing to win and fail at. Use your resources as input, but it’s up to YOU to try new things. You’ll never know what you’ll uncover. I’ve learned more in some of my failures than I ever would have in a safe place.

Have thoughts or comments on your own story?  Let’s chat, I love hearing them!

Dave Paprocki