I reacquainted with someone recently who I hadn’t seen in years. We were never good friends but had a lot of mutual acquaintances and I always felt positive towards her. As we were speaking, something was gnawing at me and rubbing me the wrong way, but I couldn’t identify what it was. Here I had someone I respected tremendously, someone who was noted as extremely successful in their field of work, yet there seemed to be something off. And then after one final comment, it hit me. Sarah* (name changed) was stuck. No matter what new idea we were speaking about, she was only able to list all the problems. She shared why every idea wouldn’t work, why it was flawed and why we should stay with the old system.
Now, I want you to think about this for a minute. Here we have someone who is extremely successful and has a system that truly works for her. Now her company comes along and shares a new direction, different processes for achieving the same goal, ones in which they feel will ultimately bring them to their goal quicker. Was Sarah wrong? No. She had a tried and true system that worked time and again. But was she right? Here I’d also say ‘No’ again.
There are many character traits that one can have, and each has the potential for positive and negative results. Stubbornness, which helps someone stick to their morals and gives them the strength to persevere, also limits them in their ability to change and improve processes.
Did Sarah have a working model? Yes.
Were their other models out there? Yes.
Is it possible that there are benefits to these new ideas? Yes again.
You see, even if someone is right and currently being successful, they are limiting their growth when they aren’t open to new ideas. New ideas bring with them opportunities and even if they won’t eventually be implemented, just fleshing them out can bring out new angles and potential breakthroughs.
If you want to grow, become more innovative and learn to pivot quicker in the face of challenges, whenever you hear a new idea do (and don’t do) the following: instead of saying why it wont work, ask yourself this key question – what are the benefits of the new idea? Just by listing a few will put you in a different head space and you will begin to open up new possibilities. Take the time to find what might work, instead of what won’t. It’s true that there are problems with the new idea, but focusing on them won’t lead you to growth. Choose to focus on the benefits and get ready for an entirely new perspective.