When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Every day, we are exposed to new information and new opportunities. We read a new book, taste a new recipe, or watch a new movie. But do we really try something totally new?
I posed this question to 50 participants at a Young Professionals Summit recently and most of them shook their heads, admitting they could not recall their most recent effort to do something “for the first time.”
When we are children, nearly every day is filled with “firsts” – first word, first step, first fall. As adults, even when we have opportunities to try new things, we often prefer to remain in our comfort zone. It’s easy to say “no, thank you” when one of these opportunities comes your way. And, if the new effort brings with the potential for discomfort, embarrassment or failure, a dozen excuses rise quickly to the surface.
While refusing to participate might reduce stress, it also limits our ability to learn new skills or discover new passions. Imagine what your world would be today, you had never tried anything new – even out of pure curiosity. What if you had never owned a pet, driven a car, or attended a live theater performance? Where would you be if you had never gone on a job interview or learned a new technical skill?
As marketers, a central part of our job involves promoting new concepts. We are often the first to see a new product or learn about a new service. We experience the excitement of sharing them with the public. In recent weeks, I attended my first-ever live boxing match (thank you, Nico Hernandez) and I mastered some new technology for presentations. In between, I volunteered for a community project that introduced me to a variety of new people. Each of these first-time activities were job-related opportunities.
One of the things I shared with the Young Professionals was a belief that if we aren’t trying new things, we aren’t learning. If we aren’t learning, we aren’t growing. The best way to improve our lives, and the lives of those around us, is to work at it. We need to work as hard on improving ourselves as we do on accomplishing our jobs.
Regardless of your occupation, when you try a new skill you will feel a sense of accomplishment and you will be better equipped to take the next step up your career ladder.
Fair warning: Doing things for the “first time” can be habit forming. Once you experience success, you may be inspired to reach even higher.