Sometimes you have to learn to trust yourself and your own experiences, even if that means doing something that might appear to be out of the norm to someone else.
Yesterday I found myself sitting down to work on a project plan at work that has been challenging me for quite a while now. I was finding that I didn’t have the time to finish it and the project was complex enough that I was feeling very intimidated. So, I decided to take all of yesterday and devote it to this project plan. That was my first ‘win’ on this one. I knew I needed a big chunk of time to do this. But, I still felt like I was spinning my wheels. I was having trouble visualizing the whole project and all of the complex little pieces that were involved, and you can’t make a project plan without the details!
So, I stopped myself in my tracks and decided to think about things a little bit differently. I asked myself “if I was given this task in school, and could approach it any way I liked then how would I approach it?” The answer was pretty simple: I would use a mind map to visualize all of the different deliverables and the different layers of the project. That was when the nattering little self-doubt voices crept in and said “no one else around here seems to use mind maps, so that must be the wrong approach”, and I nearly passed up the idea. But, then it occurred to me that just because the approach might be different, it is not necessarily wrong; in fact, I had been having so much trouble with the standard approach I was using that something different actually just might be my ticket to success. Key realization here: different ≠ wrong.
With that, I sat down and created my mind map and I ended up with a multilayered, beautiful, colour-coded map that was the perfect foundation to use for my project plan! By the end of the day I had finished my entire project plan; all because I actually took the risk of trying something differently than what I saw others doing, and trusted my own past experiences.
I thought I would take that lesson that I learned and document some of the key take-aways from it:
- Work with yourself, not against yourself: Even though I had several years of being a successful student under my belt, I immediately discredited my own experiences when I entered a new environment. This was completely unnecessary, and even detrimental. By recognizing what has worked for me in the past, I allowed myself to step out of the box that I had put myself in and be successful in the task at hand.
- The importance of positive self-talk: As soon as I was able to turn my negative self talk into positive, actionable statements I found myself moving forward with my work. Instead of telling yourself “This is too challenging, I don’t know where to start” you can say something more along the lines of “this is a challenge; how have I approached these kinds of challenges in the past? What has worked for me?”.
- Allow yourself to be unique: Acknowledge that doing something differently is not wrong! You can approach things in your own way, which may be different than the standard way of doing things. The main thing is that you are able to achieve your outcomes, and if that means breaking away from the norm, that is ok! Do what works for you!
I would love to hear your ideas:
How do you allow yourself to ‘think outside the box’ and be your own unique person?
How do you use positive self-talk?
Enjoy your weekend!
Until next time,