It’s clear from the multitude of books, websites, podcasts, seminars, conferences, training and other educational tools that there is no single way to build a business, or even more importantly, a life.
With all of this information and expertise available, how do we know what is best for ourselves?
One thing to ponder might be … what exactly is best and why is this superlative so important? What does it really mean to get it right the first time, and how do we know if it’s right?
Getting started can be the hardest part.
Often in navigating a new path, the destination isn’t fully identified. Even with clarity on the goal, it might not be in our direct line of sight. Sometimes we have to go sideways or even backward before ultimately moving forward. That can be a scary and often frustrating prospect. It can also be interesting and exciting, and we don’t have to do it alone.
I was visiting Miami Beach a few weeks ago, which included a visit to one of my favorite museums, the Wolfsonian. I could write so much about why I love this place so much. Suffice it to say I’ve spent many hours here over the past decade, bringing home new insights, memories, and yes, books after each visit.
As it was the last Friday of the month, I was also able to take part in an activity out of my comfort zone – Sketching in the Galleries. It’s not structured; you can choose anything you’d like in the main gallery, and an artist is on site to work with you, providing feedback and support. The first step is deciding on a subject.
As I perused the new and familiar objects, clipboard, pencil and footstool in hand, I didn’t really have an idea of what to tackle. I only had about an hour, and my skills are on the novice level at best. I didn’t want to take on something I wouldn’t be able to finish, if not that evening, at least at home. Just as I was circling around the floor and arriving back to the main elevators, I found my inspiration.
I’d passed it many times before – a Height / Weight Meter, designed and built in 1929 by Joseph Sinel. This was no regular scale – with the deposit of a coin, the customer would receive their “correct weight and fortune printed on ticket”. As this is a museum piece, I was not able to test it myself, but I could imagine the trepidation, curiosity and excitement of a patron standing in front of this machine almost a hundred years ago.
I thought more about the significance of the directions printed on the base of the scale:
STEP ON IT
I quickly realized this was my message to get started. Rather than take on the whole thing, I decided to focus on the idea and how it related not only to the activity at hand (sketching), but also to the importance of taking action.
For me, the font and design were pleasing to the eye, and with relatively simple geometric lines, I felt I could render something similar to the original image. I was able to get a rough outline, and had a chance to chat with Felipe Melendrez, our instructor for the evening. Thankfully I also had an eraser, so there was a little backing up happening before moving forward.
The evening was a success in more ways than one.
As leaders, we are faced with countless opportunities to forge new paths for ourselves and our team members. With so many options and expert opinions available, paralysis by analysis can be hard to avoid. At some point, we just have to step on it.
It’s easy to get caught up in what we think we should be doing rather than what we can be doing. Rather than focusing on what is at risk by taking action, the better consideration might be the opportunity lost with inaction.
I am admittedly all too familiar with this sense of inertia. To shift from thinking to doing, I explore what I have to gain with whatever action I choose to take. How does it align with and support my personal, professional and organizational goals for growth?
If I’ve learned anything in this entrepreneurial endeavor, I know that I won’t get anywhere if I don’t start somewhere. Trying new things has been and will continue to be an integral part of Esprit de Merci.
Starting with a blank page at the Wolfsonian galleries was intimidating, but in just a few lines and less than an hour (and thankfully the eraser and encouragement of Felipe!), I was able to achieve direction and momentum. I decided to keep going with my sketch. Once the outline was complete, it was a matter of filling in the blank spaces.
I’ll be hanging on to this one… It serves as an important reminder, inspiration and validation that sometimes not seeing the destination right away shouldn’t keep me from taking action. In fact, these small steps make the journey all the richer.
I’d love to hear more about your experiences in getting out of your comfort zone. What did you learn along the way? How does that serve you today?
* Be sure to check these out if you make it to Miami Beach! www.wolfsonian.org | www.felipemelendrez.com