What Will You Risk to Grow?

new skill development
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There’s a skate park at the local YMCA. Whenever I watch the young people using it, I always grimace when I see them tumble. It looks painful.

And yet, they always shake it off and keep trying.

From what I can tell, there are tricks to be mastered and no scratches or even the risk of broken bones will keep them from trying.

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What Will You Risk to Learn a New Skill?

Imagine having that much determination and persistence as you take on new challenges at work. Do you accept the assignment, knowing darn well you are going to fall and may hurt yourself?

Most of us err on the side of caution, or so it seems to be the more cautious approach. There’s also risk in not learning a new skill. That risk is much easier to ignore.

There’s not much difference between what the skateboarders do and what we do at work. Both situations involve:

  • New challenges
  • Risk
  • Real consequences for failure

One Difference That Matters

I can imagine one difference, and I better its the one that keeps us from going for it. The kids at the skate park know that nobody is going to tear into them when they fall. I wouldn’t be surprised if super-big crashes are even somehow rewarded.

At work, we fear people just waiting to pounce on our mistakes. The consequences seem much more serious than broken bones, although it would be hard to argue that they are. So we play it safe.

Growth requires venturing into new territory, and doing so almost certainly means mistakes. Are you willing to make some? Are your coworkers willing to tolerate a few?

To make yourself better, you’re going to need to take a few tumbles. Don’t forget your helmet and elbow pads.

By Tom LaForce

Tom LaForce helps companies change by creating stronger teams, more effective leaders, and better processes. To discuss a challenge you're facing, use this link to schedule a free discovery call.