Sunday, July 14, 2013

Why Starting at the Bottom is the Best

I learned something the other day watching my 20 month old son learning how to climb a small rock climbing wall.  There is a reason it is good to start at the bottom - you have less room to fall and it is so much easier to get back up when you do.

The same can be said about the business world.  I hear people talking about younger generations in the workforce "wanting to run the organization their first week."  Suffice it to say, they simply feel like their skills are not being fully utilized, but that is for another article.

This article is for people of any age starting a new career.  Appreciate the fact that you get to learn from the ground up.  Just like a child playing on a rock climbing wall, you are going to slip every now and then.  In the business world, it is called "failing forward" and it is a legitimate form of adult learning.  In fact, on-the-job experience is actually the most effective way for adults to learn.

Experiment with new ways of doing things but don't forget to watch how others navigate the path as well.  That way you are actually choosing rather than just following or rebelling.

Test your footing before you move on to the next step.  If you're not stable where you are you can't climb higher and if you slip back you lose the progress you've already made.

Look three or four steps ahead as you plan your way.  Don't just think about where you are now.  Copying policies and procedures may not be the most exciting job in the world, but if you're going to change them you have to read them sometime.  Why not start now.

Look at your career as an adventure.  Don't get caught up in what you think you should be doing.  Follow your dreams and your passion.  Things will not always be sunshine and roses and resilience is easier when you are fully committed.

Never stop reaching.  Once you've climbed the wall you planned look for another wall to challenge you.

So get your footing on the trainer wall and then you can expand to greater things.  You will have the confidence that only experience can bring and you will climb quicker than you would if you started with the a mountain first.

What is the next wall you want to climb?  How can you gain experience in a safe learning environment first?

Photo Credits: Girl on Wall - Caroline Knox; Man With a View - Heather Ellis.  Thank you to Caroline Knox and Justin Snead for the great pictures!