Entrepreneurs have often been called jacks-of-all trades, and, seeing the many roles they can enact in the pursuit of their goals, it’s a given that the ones who succeed are the ones who, pushed beyond their normal comfort zones, have grow adept at being able to move in and out of various roles easily.
Nobody plays only one role in their life. It’s just not possible not to be a multi-faceted individual–our relationships won’t really let that happen. We’re being of many hats– someone’s child, a student, maybe a burger-flipper, maybe a spouse, or a dungeon master, a coder, a parent, a friend, as well as a business owner — and our amazing minds are such that we can recall all the ‘hats’ we’ve ever worn.
As a plus, being wired for imagination means we can play around with different hats at the same time. This is actually a large part of how we learn, and this is also how we gain strength and belief in our own capabilities. And the more we intentionally practice this ability, the more we can use it to our advantage, in business as well as our personal lives.
Playing around with being different characters isn’t just for kids and day-dreams. This kind of ‘play’ is actually an important component of developing deeper perspective and flexibility, things which are of incredible help for anyone.
- Knowledge acquired from different fields of study can be used for ‘cross-pollinating’ skills. You carry them over into different areas.
- Knowledge acquired from examining different viewpoints helps in negotiations by giving you a starting point in discussions, and create goals toward compromise. This is important in all relationships.
- Knowledge earned from wearing different hats in an organization — say, working your way up from being a waitress to being the VP of a restaurant chain (see links below)– forms an incredible matrix of intimate, first-hand experience that can be carried over into other fields, and just plain carried as a built-in repository of valuable skill-sets.
SUCCESS STORY: Katrina Cole
As a business owner, you will always have the inevitable issues and problems to solve. When you practice developing flexibility and entertaining multiple perspectives, you in fact train your brain to be more adept at re-framing, and approaching challenges, and then being able to break them down into actionable bits and phases.
Entrepreneurs must execute to keep moving forward, and it is in the execution that they learn and refine their approach. When you have problems breaking down a problem or resolving a hairy issue, taking yourself out of the fix-it-NOW mindset and going into a different one can help you take the stress off, for one. You see things in a different light, and that may help you find a better approach. And this also applies to service businesses– not for nothing is it common advice to put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
When you learn to use different perspectives, this affects the mind-set you use in order to frame an idea.
Related article: Is It A Problem Or A Challenge?
Execution is part of learning as much as play, and both are important factors in succeeding at your goals. Here are the basic steps:
- You identify the issue from a head-on approach.
- You examine the issue from different angles to develop perspective.
- Different angles of approach can mean different solutions, and there may even be overlap.
- You mull things around in your head and come up with a set of solutions, judgements, or observations, which you use to take the next step.
To jump-start the process into action, you need a defined statement to describe the issue, and be able to identify the key players and processes involved. As a business owner, what do you want? As a customer, what would you want? As someone who partners with other people towards a common goal, what do you guys want? Take out the ‘hats’ involved and try to see things ‘as-if’ to help you see the system as a whole. When you understand the system, you can start modifying it and see how it improves and evolves.
“It never hurts to get a different perspective.” Another way of seeing it is that “It never hurts to get a second opinion.” Think again of the word ‘perspective ‘itself, and how that word association can play out. Perspective can cover short-sightedness and long-sightedness; you can take actions that answers issues and resolve them in the short run, and yet fail to look ahead far enough to see the ramifications and far-reaching consequences of your actions. You can also plan so far into the future that day-to-day and short-term activities can be restricted unnecessarily because you planned too rigidly and didn’t make allowances for change to happen to meet the unexpected.
What are the benefits of ‘going over to the other side’, so to speak?
One, you get jolted out of thinking you know best — a fatal flaw in a world that changes so rapidly and where knowledge can rapidly go outdated. Two, it gives you dimensionality, a more developed vision of the situation — it looks different from the vantage points at 10, 500, 100, 5000 feet — and the higher (deeper) you go, the more links and connections you can parse and the more opportunities present themselves. Three, you learn to see the world in a deeper light.
Sometimes, we find it easier to see what we don’t like, and use that information to make things better. Customer complaints are a rich resource for examining your business. You can use those as starting points and branch out.
It isn’t easy, of course, because we’re also hard-wired towards taking the most energy-efficient way to approaching life, and that’s an area where procrastination, short-sighted or short-term thinking, and having problems with execution can start. But then again, nothing worthwhile really comes easy. Practice using multiple perspectives and you’ll find that you’re also expanding the way you view the world, and learning how to get along better with the people who live, work in, and share it with you.
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