It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
Having answers stunts your growth.
As soon as you think you have something figured out, your growth around that “something” stops. You stop questioning. You stop listening to others’ viewpoints. And, you even stop listening to yourself.
As a leader, your “answers” can be your undoing.
That’s why it is absolutely critical that you stay flexible. Instead of going after definitive answers, pursue your curiosity.
How often do you do that…simply allow yourself to be curious, and then investigate?
A couple of months ago, I let myself be curious as to why my wife liked her spinning class so much. We have a stationary bike at home. I regularly worked out on it, and I figured I was getting the same workout she was. But, my curiosity compelled me to wonder, what if I wasn’t?
So, I went with Kim to her spinning class. It didn’t take long to figure out that working with a coach and fellow cyclers in a group setting took my workout to a dramatic new level. I broke through heart rate barriers that I would never have touched on my own. Now, I’m hooked. With each class, my energy level gets higher – not just in class, but also outside of it.
Here are six tips to help you stay curious and developing, both professionally and personally:
- Keep your mind open. No matter how smart you are, or how much experience you have in a certain area, keep yourself open. Consistently seek out new learning that challenges and sharpens your current understanding.
- Question relentlessly. Cultivate a passion for digging deeper and finding out what’s beneath the surface. If I hadn’t asked my wife why she enjoyed spinning so much, I would not be in the physical and mental shape I am today.
- Feed your mind. Read about things that interest you. Keep your mind engaged in new ideas, inspirations, and opinions.
- Be willing to divide your energies. Peel yourself away from your status quo schedule, even if doing so stresses you out. Give yourself permission to explore and investigate. Invest that time and energy, and take stock of the returns. What did you learn? How did you grow? What in your exploring gave you joy?
- Embrace calculated risk. You don’t have to jump off a cliff to learn how to fly. When your curiosity takes you into uncharted territory, bring along a guide. A coach can help you calculate risks and learn how to “fly” without killing yourself in the process.
- Be enthusiastic. Optimism drives openness while negativity drives stagnation. Enthusiasm will feed your curiosity and will give you the energy to be more interested in new things. Plus, it is contagious. Being enthusiastic will have a positive influence not just on your behavior, but also on the behavior of the people around you.
Curiosity will drive growth within you as a leader, and also within your business.
Here is how you can reward curiosity in order to drive a culture of innovation:
- Define a meaningful purpose. People become passionately curious about how to do their jobs better when they know their efforts are making a positive difference for society.
- Welcome ideas. Make it clear that you want everyone’s input. All of us are always smarter than any one of us. Consistently model the practice of being curious about what every team member can contribute. Engage people’s minds.
- Recognize and be grateful for good work. Nothing will drive more forward momentum in your business than being your team’s biggest cheerleader. Let your people know how much you appreciate their curiosity to drive improvements.
- Make it safe to fail. Accept mistakes, expect some failures, and reward lessons learned. Curiosity around failure fuels breakthrough innovation.
- Promote diversity. Without diversity on the team, you can get stuck in a pattern of “group think.” Intentionally drive towards diversity to maximize the potential of various viewpoints.
You, as a leader, will never have all the answers for how to run your life and business perfectly. Stay curious! Take the pressure off, and give yourself and others the room to stretch, explore, and grow.
Right now, ask yourself…
What am I curious about? And, what’s the first step I can take to learn more?
Give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.