Being stuck in a rut can be difficult. Not just because you feel trapped, but sometimes, maybe most of the time, you’re not even sure you’re in a rut. And then if someone has the audacity to challenge you, you don’t know why change is needed. If a new coach came to a fairly successful football team and said “This season we will probably lose a lot, but I am developing the players to learn new skills and new positions so they will be better, and have a stronger set of skills in the future.” Would that coach have a waiting list for his team? I doubt it.
However, if that coach discovered that one of the players who was usually a kicker could throw the ball 80 yards with terrifying accuracy, the risk may just have paid off. The kid who was once on the calf path as an average kicker now has a whole new role in the team.
I have a friend who works for a corporation who deliberately did this. He broke everything from the bottom up in his location and everything was horrendous for months. Because of his courage and vision that location became one of the strongest in his district. It was risky, and it could have cost him his job, but it paid off. My friend focused on what needed to change in order to improve performance. For him the results were secondary, he knew they would come eventually.
Here are the three take aways for today:
1 – If you are stuck on the calf path think about the things that drive you, the things that inspire you, and the ways in which you can inspire others. Think about what it would be like to be in that world, then take steps backwards from that place to today and look at the path you took.
2 – Approach problems from the perspective of being already at a place where the problem is solved and what life looks like. Then connect the dots to see how you could get from that place to the one you are currently in.
3 – Don’t look to fix a broken process. Look at how you can make things the way you want them to be. Fixing a broken process will simply keep you doing what has always been done, it limits creativity and critical thinking.
As you stray from the calf path you may find that you need a new direction. Who knows, it may not be a path at all, and you may need to spread your wings and fly leaving the path behind. It may be scary, but do it anyway, you will thank yourself for it. Tiny alleyways and paths in huge cities have been formed simply because one person, or maybe a calf once trod down grass to form a path, a path that others followed. You don’t have to follow that path.
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