"While you are experimenting, do not remain content with the surface of things" - Ivan Pavlov
|Photo courtesy of JD Hancock via Compfight|
I love trying new things and opening up my mind to new possibilities. It's keeps my brain wires twirling and prevents boredom. I particularly love trying novel things out in my garden. I've had a lot of fails and each one gives me a different perspective, chance to recalibrate, and ideas as to how to change my methods. My experiment a few years back with Windmill Palm trees outside for a Michigan winter didn't end so well.They were too much work because I had to wrap and protect them. The season end crispness on the fronds just wasn't a selling point to keep them. On the other hand, my cactus garden thrives and I continue to experiment with new varieties. You win some and lose some (literally in my case).
Experimenting is how we grow and become better humans. Failing enables us to learn and make new discoveries. This past weekend I decided to set up a little outdoor lab of sorts. I want to have a specific area in my yard where I can try out new plants or techniques, but have some more control over the environment. We have a septic drain field in our lawn where I can't plant anything. The dirt is fairly sandy so the grass bakes quite well in the sun and it produces great colonies of grubs for the moles. My "lab" consists of 3 large metal fire rings in an area over the drain field filled with rich soil. It will be a perfect spot for growing new species from seed or as a "nursery" for young plants. The raised beds will allow earlier planting, reduce weeds, and the moles will have a tough time tunneling in my plants. Adorned with annuals around it, I know that it will become an art piece in the yard.
This weekend I was very excited when my "lab" was born and I already have plans for next Spring. It will be fun to try unusual plants, learn new things, and challenge my existing ways of gardening. To top it all off, the area offers an aesthetic look to my garden rather than just plopping some plants in an area of ground. It will be fun to grow and stretch my personal limits.
"I'm still experimenting" - Stevie Wonder
Are you experimenting with ways to enlighten yourself or tap your toes out testing new waters? Have you set up a "Lab You" to help yourself grow and challenge who you are? Do you tend to try new ways of working or leading others? What goals have you set for yourself to try something new or work on one of your weaknesses? Are you open to experimenting? Growing? Perhaps it's time! Time to set up "your" lab to grow and experiment on "you".
Setting up your "Lab You":
- Take a class in an area that you never thought of - Art? Coding? Dance?
- Learn a new language - use it with your bilingual folks and ask for their help.
- Pick a new habit and stick with it for 21 days. No excuses to stop. Perhaps just waking up 15 minutes early and trying yoga every day.
- Emulate one trait of a leader that you admire for 3 months. See what happens!
- Ask your team for ideas on one way that you can be a better leader. Try what they chirp up with even if it's uncomfortable.
- Job shadow one of your people to learn what their day is like- Let them in on what you are doing!
- Look at your past reviews. Pick out one key painful weakness that you have ignored and experiment o improve.
- Read at least one book every week that you would never have picked up before. Guys? Try a romance novel. Ladies? How about some Sci Fi or a Western?
- Stop planning so much or letting others schedule you. Experiment.
- Take a brain training seminar, there are so many new options out there.
- Pick the one thing that scares you and just do it! I don't enjoy networking, but I have been forcing myself and actually enjoy it more.
- Be patient - embrace failure. It's healthy for you.
- Crap happens. Take it in, spit it out, and move on.
There is only one "you" and you have but one crack at life. You need to be president of YOU and only you can take control of personal growth. This may indeed require a bit of experimentation.