Are you comfortable in your current job but you feel that there’s something missing? Do you find your tasks are becoming routine and no longer challenging? Do you feel like you’ve reached a career peak and your job has lost its shine? Perhaps it’s time to disrupt yourself.
Most of us work with a personal goal or ambition in mind, whether it’s to develop new skills, make a difference, become famous or simply to provide for our families. When your work is challenging it energizes you, gives you drive and generally makes you feel good. Then, once you’ve finally achieved your goal or career ambition, you bask in the warm glow of your success and are happy to work at it thereafter.
However, after a time you may find that dream job, or a large part of it, becomes automatic and routine. This tends to occur when you enter a “comfort zone” in which you can confidently perform your work year in year out without issues. It’s a perfectly good place to be but it’s not where the magic happens. Growth, fresh ideas, innovation and creativity all occur when you are outside your comfort zones. So, in order to step outside the zone, you need to disrupt yourself, be prepared to learn new skills, open up to new experiences and go on a journey where the end goal might not even be in sight.
Career development is no longer the linear track it used to be, where we’d follow logical steps up the ladder to success. To accelerate personal growth requires courage to leave a comfortable position (where you are at the top of your S-curve), and take a step back or sideways to try something new (starting at the bottom of a new S-curve) that will take you further over time. Timing is important and good preparation before you jump to the next learning curve is essential for successful career advancement.
Here are a few tips to prepare for launch:
- Write down the functional and emotional elements that are important to you in a new role or job.
- Know your distinctive strengths and apply your special skills in a unique manner.
- Ensure your strengths align with the learning curve you are planning to undertake.
- Analyze how well your skills map to unmet needs.
- Be prepared to step down, step backwards or step sideways. When you’re seeking a new venture outside your comfort zone, you have to be prepared to invest in learning and developing before you can achieve success. For instance, to strengthen or learn new skills you may need to take a step back on the career ladder, or a step sideways into a new area of business and then learn the ropes.
- Embrace failure and use your experience wisely. If you welcome failure as a guide and teacher you’re more likely to find your way to success.
- Engage in discovery-driven planning where you have a plan but the outcome may be as yet unknown. If you pursue a disruptive course, you can’t see the top of the curve from the bottom and you may end up with a different result altogether.
- Follow the “equal odds rule”. This rule basically states that success is a numbers game. The best strategy is to produce as much work as possible in order to provide more opportunities to create something meaningful. For instance, if you want to write a frequently cited paper, publish a lot. If you want a successful business, go to work. If you want to sharpen your skills as disruptor, disrupt. As Woody Allen brilliantly pointed out: “80% of success is just showing up”.
In her latest book “Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work” Whitney Johnson http://whitneyjohnson.com/ talks about the importance of driving innovation through personal disruption. Definitely an interesting and worthwhile read!
Go ahead and disrupt yourself to success!