If you reflect back on your childhood, you can probably remember a time when all things were possible. When the boundaries and fears of the big people didn’t apply to your world. When there were no rules or constraints to your imagination.
Those of us with children get to witness this phenomena all the time. My 3-year-old plays house with a mommy, a daddy, and a lion. Pennies are “keys” to unlock doors in the house and a screwdriver is a gun. Moreover, he is supremely confident in his assumptions about the world.
As we grow up, our imperfect assumptions and beliefs are corrected. After years of formal education where we are graded on whether we provide the acceptable response, we stop looking at the world with an open mind.
As adults, the result of this conditioning can cause us to move with the masses. To act as sheep, blindly accepting the information that flows through the herd.
Within our own lives, this translates to acceptance that our dream of climbing Mt. Everest is unreasonable or too risky.
In business, it cripples our ability to seize opportunities. Fear guides our decisions, rather than our own internal locus of control.
What have you done lately that the flock would caution against?
You are not aiming to live a life of the masses. The masses are in debt, miserable, and overweight. You need to make decisions that align with your values and dreams, however extraordinary they might be.
When I began looking at a log home on a dirt road, I witnessed firsthand the fears and judgments projected by friends and family with the best of intentions. Fears ranged from my children growing up socially stunted from isolation to how I would go insane from the commute. Luckily, I already had my kid goggles firmly in place and all I could see were the trees, deer, hiking trails, turkeys, and freedom.
My dream of living on a few acres on a dirt road came to life long before I made the purchase. I was frustrated by the constant noise of neighbors and the distance, cost and inconvenience of camping. Instead of accepting that these were the limitations of home ownership given my income level and office location, I let the dream take shape and then started looking with an open mind.
Take 5 minutes and pick one area of frustration, whether in your life or your organization. It might be a lack of time with your significant other, misery in the cubicle, or the 10 pounds that crept on over the holidays. Pull on your kid goggles and let yourself openly and without judgment explore the possibilities:
- What is the problem, from a child’s perspective?
- What if there were no rules, just outcomes?
- What are the opportunities?
- How could you eliminate the limitations boxing you in?
- How could this be fun?
- What is the most creative and crazy solution you can come up with?
Even if your proposed solution seems crazy or out-of-bounds, perhaps that is exactly what you or your organization need to break free of the pigeon-hole.