There are many maps in life. Of traveled roads. Processes to follow. Paths forged by those that have gone before us.
We all follow maps. What else is the GSP for, but to help us get from one point to another with limited time and disruption?
There is comfort and familiarity in following a map and guiding others along a known path. Yet there is limited challenge and growth in following the same steps, the same way, to the same destination.
Find Ways to Build Your Own Map
Professionally, there are opportunities to build our own maps. We don’t all have to be an entrepreneur, building the next best thing. But we can bring an entrepreneurial spirit to our teams, our work, and our development.
Every day rich with opportunities to improve. Listening for “we’ve always done it this way” is a quick way to find them. Turn the old way on its head and challenge those around us to find a new approach.
Maybe the opportunities are not around us, but within. Considering our career progression and development as another map – is there an alternate way to get to where we want?
Look for Detours to Build Experience
Traveling in a straight, defined line is expedient. However, there is limited experience to be gained along the way. What do you learn traveling on a highway, with thousands of others?
Experience is gained by creating detours. Taking the unexpected turn. Maybe it’s a new role, completely unrelated to anything we’ve done before. Or a new hobby (photography, writing or furniture building anyone?).
By the time we’re done, our map may look like spaghetti. It may not be the most efficient or effective way to get to our destination. But it will be experience-rich.
Get Uncomfortable to Get Challenged
At first, it may be uncomfortable going off established roads. Away from defined paths and plans. Building maps does not mean going in blind and unprepared for our journey. We take our previous experience, tools and knowledge, and apply it in new ways.
Warning – Once you’ve gone off-road, and had your first challenge defining a new way of doing things, you’ll want to do it again. The initial discomfort stops many. Once you get past that, you won’t want anything else but to become a map-builder.
If you’ve taken the leap and started building your own map, resist the urge to compare yourself to others. To turn back to what’s known. We are each on our own journey. Let them follow the well-trodden path. Go kick ass on the one you’re building.