How a new perspective on an old idea is the key to your success.
Certain people — especially people under the age of 18 — dread the beginning of fall. It signals the start of school, endlessly raking leaves, the end of warm weather… the list goes on and on.
I’m a successful entrepreneur and I always look forward to the new season. You should, too, because whatever your age or your level of education, you can always benefit from a “back-to-school” mindset.
A child’s curiosity and thirst for new knowledge often gets lost in the transition to adulthood. This is especially true of adults who have been in the same career for a long time. Stability can turn into sameness, and the reliable can become the predictable. You may get the occasional curveball thrown your way, like some new calendar application or accounting software, but that’s about it.
My wealth management firm, LexION Capital, keeps me on my toes, but I don’t wait for the challenges to come and find me. I take concrete steps to learn more, and you should too – this is the key to your success. Here are a couple of ways to do that.
Pretend it’s your first day on the job
When I worked on Wall Street, I saw the following scenario, over and over again.
Hungry young grads, wide-eyed with enthusiasm, would step onto the trade floor. Their minds overflowed with revolutionary new ideas, and their determination to get in there and make a difference was palpable.
Then, a month would pass, and these same hungry young go-getters could be overheard saying, “Well… that’s how it’s always been done.” All that determination to make a difference had evaporated, and that’s exactly the scenario I want to avoid at LexION Capital.
I certainly expect my new employees to familiarize themselves with the rules, but I’m happy to say that for every question they ask, I learn something too, because they’re coming to the situation with a fresh eye. They can see something that I might miss because I’ve gotten used to it already.
Think back to your days of writing term papers. After a couple of hours the words would turn to mush, so you got your roommate to look at it. That second set of eyes put it back into perspective.
You could be developing this same brain mush at work, and becoming less and less like a new employee. So I want you to walk into work tomorrow and act like you’ve never been there before. Ask questions about everything you’re doing. Ask if you’re finding the quickest route from point A to point B. Ask if your approach will produce your best and greatest work. You’ll be surprised by the results.
So get off autopilot and start thinking of ways to improve your work.
Take on new adventures
During the summertime, the office can feel like a heavily air conditioned ghost town. LexION Capital’s clients are usually on vacation, and as long as the markets are steady, the last thing on their minds is their investment portfolios. So when things pick up in September and October, it’s the perfect time to push myself and seek out new challenges.
You don’t have to wait until business picks up. Any week can become a chance for improvement.
Every month without fail, I set aside some time to evaluate my progress and think about how I could push myself further. Some of these goals are accomplished in a few minutes, and others simply won’t be reached. That’s okay. The key is that I’m my own teacher, pushing forward progress.
So dare to question yourself. Dare yourself to think differently. The results may end up surprising you.
This post was originally published on Life Learning.