Go Out And Try Something New

Every leader needs to be able to grow, learn, and adapt on ever changing world. If you are in leadership position you need to expect the unexpected, and you need to understand how to work with various types of people. If you work in multinational environment you need to understand different cultures and customs and if you want to grow your business, be innovative and creative you need many different perspectives. There are many ways how to achieve the state of complete openness, the state of eternal learning and enjoy it. The technique that works like a charm for me personally is something you would call “going out and trying something new”.

The same old stuff

Office, home, office, home, weekend in the countryside and back to office. It might be a nice life but it gives you very little to think about, it gives you very few opportunities to see life in other perspectives and it gives you a little chance to prepare for a change. If your office and your home are your whole world you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to see and meet the rest of the universe. It keeps you within your comfort zone and makes you less able to cope with change. And ultimately it robs your team of opportunity to grow as you are not in a position to open their eyes if yours are closed.

Travelling the world

The easiest way how to expand your horizons is travel. And I mean real travel, not going to the city in the neighborhood or to a beach in the same country. In my mind real travel means going somewhere really different, see something you have never seen before, talk to people who are just very different from you and see how they live and hear what they believe in. I’m from central Europe so when I decide to travel to learn I go to places like South/Central America, Africa or Asia. I try to go to countries that have a very different culture from my own. I travel and I watch and I listen. I don’t judge, I don’t dismiss other peoples points of view or customs. I take it as I see it and try to understand. There were couple of trips to South East Asia and East Africa that really changed my perspective on life and I believe made me a better leader.

Meeting new people

Get out of office and meet new people. And I don’t mean at a bar (though even that may work sometimes). There are many activities that allows you to meet people with different backgrounds and perspectives both from and outside of your industry. You can join a sport club, professional association, or some other free-time club.

Trying new things

Make a habit of regularly trying new things. These might be small one time activities or more long-term learning opportunities. Since we were talking about travelling that is a great way how to try new stuff, not just see it. For example, when I went to Indonesia I really wanted to try to clean up a bit of jungle with a machete in my own hands to understand what it takes. When I went Tanzania I really wanted to climb that volcano at night just to test what I can endure. When I went to Australia I really wanted to learn scuba diving to see what is hidden below the surface of the ocean. I did all these things to get new experiences and to live.

Aside of these short one time activities I come up every year with a new hobby that requires some focused effort and that should ultimately help me to become better at my job. When I look at the last couple of years I always had one major learning hobby. I joined Toastmasters International in 2013 and actively participated in building one club, a year before that I decided to start writing a blog and eventually a book, a year before that I took couple of training courses in coaching and since then occasionally coach clients on business and career topics, a year before that I enrolled for law courses at university with the idea to study for a year and cherry pick the topics I find useful.

So next time you feel like being in the rut, go out and try something new…

What is your recipe for keeping open mind and understanding others? What was the out of office experience that helped your leadership skills the most?

 

5L Principle Of Leadership: Live, Love, Laugh, Learn, and Lead

The one question that is bugging most of the managers and leaders I know is how to cope with all the work on their plan and the subsequent stress. I’m not going to deal with the time issue as I covered that in Lack Of Time Is Just An Illusion. Since I myself experienced being on the verge of burnout it made me think about the things one has to do to deal with it. I will talk about what you can do, and what mindset you need to learn to be able to cope with stress and downsides in life.

When thinking about the key principles of stress-free life even when being always busy and not having enough time for all the things you want to do, I came up with 5L Principle: Live, Love, Laugh, Learn and Lead…

Live

Boredom is the biggest killer and a perfect way to get depressed. Once you get to habit of trying new things and getting new experiences you eliminate being bored and you ensure that there is always something that keeps your mind occupied. The trick is to live in the moment and be focused on the activity you just do. If you are in the office than be fully focused on your job, if you are in a meeting focus on what is being discussed there, if you are with your family then focus on it and forget about phone calls, emails, and other distractions.

Love

Love who you are. Love what you do. Love the people around you. Yes, life is getting all sorts of obstacles in our way, not everyone we meet is the person we want to befriend, and we all have days when we are not particularly proud of ourselves. It doesn’t matter. As long as you learn to love every part of your surrounding and are flexible enough to adopt a positive outlook at life you will be just fine and very rarely fall prey to a stress.

One of the ways how to limit stress is to surround yourself with people you care about, you trust and who care about you. Just the feeling that there is someone out there who will come to your rescue or at least will contribute with a piece of wisdom or offer a shoulder to cry on prevents the stress buildup. In fact, I would argue that this is the most critical piece of the dealing with stress puzzle.

Laugh

If there is one thing that works as an anti-stress pill, it is humor. A good laugh works miracles in removing tension. Don’t be afraid to laugh. And don’t be afraid to laugh out loud. Always finding something positive in any life situation, being able to make fun of yourself, and laugh with others is the mindset you want to build and nurture. Learn to enjoy the small wins, learn to be thankful for any positive the life brings. Your brain will always enhance anything you focus on. If you focus on positive that is what you will get.

Learn

Be curious about everything around you. Keep your mind occupied with feeding it information about the marvelous world out there. By learning new things, by broadening your horizons you are also increasing your ability to cope with unexpected and unknown. You are raising the bar of your stress endurance and things that would panic you a month ago are your daily bread today. Learning more about the environment you live in enhances your ability to prepare for anything that could potentially create a stress.

Lead

Help others around you to achieve their personal success and happiness. For most of us the act of generosity, the act of providing help or advice is a really powerful motivator. It just feels good to see others around you learning, growing, reaching their potential, and living happy lives. It gives your own life a purpose. It gives you an antibiotic to fight the stress you may feel sometimes and it gives you the energy to keep going and focusing on the positive around you.

And if these are not enough for you then consider enhancing your life with five more L’s to get the ten commandments of good leadership and happy life

  • Labor (there is no substitute for hard work and if you want success you need to earn it)
  • Look (always look for ways how to be lazy, how to make your life easier, and how to simplify the already complicated life to its basics)
  • Listen (by being able to really listen to the meaning of what others are saying will streamline your ability to move through your life with efficiency and lack of misunderstandings)
  • Link (having wide circle of people who can assist and are reliable will without doubt help with your workload and will lead to less stress)
  • Leave (know when to leave and start something new otherwise you are in danger in being stuck in a rut)

What would be the ten commandments of good leadership from your perspective? And what are the tricks you use to live a happy life?

Originally posted at LinkedIn.