There are few things more daunting or more thrilling than doing something you have never done before. In our youth, most everything we do we have never done before. Perhaps, that is why childhood is so magical — we are constantly having experiences for the very first time.
As we get older, sometimes, we find ourselves less often doing things we have never done before. We get into life’s routine and use the skills we have learned repeatedly. We become skilled in our craft and it is easy to find ourselves in the comfort of the experiences we know. To be lifetime learners and to grow all of our lives, we need to constantly be in search of things we have never done before.
Here are a few ideas to ignite your thinking about how you might personally or professionally grow:
1. Plan opportunities to see things you have never seen before. A work colleague of mine travels the globe to broaden his perspective. Whether it is climbing to base camp at Everest, photographing penguins in Antarctica or exploring the terrain of the Galapagos Islands, he is constantly in search of new experiences that help him grow. Perhaps exotic locations is not your interest or within your budget. What are the sites in your own town or city you have never visited? We recently visited a state park with a waterfall to rival those we have seen in some of the most visited places in the world. New things to see are all around us, but sometimes we have to get out of our routine to find them.
2. Do things for the pure pleasure of learning. Take one cooking lesson, or one sailing lesson, or one ballroom dancing lesson. It doesn’t mean you have to sign up for lifetime of any of those hobbies — sometimes once is enough just for the experience. On the other hand, you might find a hobby that fulfills a longing and provides joy for years to come. A friend of mine took a cooking class on a whim and decided that being a chef is her lifetime calling. She now owns her own catering business.
3. Pursue a challenge. One of the greatest thrills in life is accomplishing something you were really not sure is possible. We see people set physical goals often such as completing a marathon, climbing a famously high mountain or competing in a tri-athalon. We grow tremendously when we do things we are not quite sure we could do, but are willing to try. When I decided to write my first book, I took it on as a personal learning and development activity, and dedicated myself not to the finished product, but to the learning process along the way. Every time I talk to my publisher, the first words out of mouth are, “Remember I have never done this before,” and then I learn something new!
4. Increase your skill set by learning from others. Find a mentor and be a mentor. The original owner of my company often repeated the quote, “You will be the same person you are five years from now as you are today, except for the books you read and the people you meet.” Look for the learning opportunity in every person you meet and be intentional about what you can learn from each other. I have mentors in my life that are a few steps ahead and have done things that I have not. I also have mentees in my life that teach me as well. A millineal is a great resource to learn about blogging and social media! Invest in others to learn how to do things you have never done before.
5. Read as much as you can. The internet puts every possible fact at our finger tips and provides the opportunity to read and hear from some of the greatest leaders in history. Reading fills educational gaps, enriches our conversations, broadens our perspectives and helps us to understand the context of the past to the potential of the future. One of my mentors reads at least 100 books a year. He has kept his mind sharp for decades by learning from the words of others. Never before has research been more readily available to prepare us to do things we have never done before. For most any question, there is an immediate answer.
Doing things we have never done before makes life more interesting and frankly, makes each of us more interesting. With only one trip on this earthly globe available to me, I want to live an enriched and full life. One way to do that is . . . do things I have never done before. You can too!