You might have heard this mantra before, “Innovate or Die”, and usually it applies to an organization or business. Lets take this to a personal level and explore why personal innovation is important.
Let me ask you, how do you innovate yourself? Are you a robot that goes through life by just delivering the bare minimum or expected levels of performance? I have seen many people I have encountered on a daily basis who just do enough (or just don’t care) to get by and not really make any effort to tap into their creativity and personal skills to deliver something more. It truly is not that hard to just add a little bit more to what you or others normally do to really stand out. Think about your job and the thousands of others doing the same thing you are doing, how do you stand out from the pack? A competitive advantage is to innovate not only your company, but innovate yourself. For example, if you are a salesperson and you go on your day to day work doing the minimal that every other salesperson is delivering to their customers, you will just be another sales rep. Lets say you go the extra mile and add creativity and innovation to even the smallest of activities, I am sure it will be noticed .
Some people overdo it and approach it wrong by not putting their true passion or intention behind their personal innovation. Seeking balance in everything you do will result in a higher chance of success.
Personal innovation is important because you set yourself apart from the majority of people. You exercise your creative skills, and I truly feel that in each of us, we all have creativity. We get lazy or don’t look for ways to innovate our-self or things we do on a daily basis. For example, do you just send an email to your friend when it is his/her birthday? How about sending a handmade card or even a handwritten letter. How about when you are given a task to do at work, do you just do enough or do what everyone else is doing, or do you look for ways to add innovative approaches and creativity into it?
By innovating yourself, you keep things fresh and exciting. You are also much more aware of your life and make your everday activities much more meaningful and fun. Many people complain that their life is boring, their job sucks.. and so on… Take charge of this and find innovative ways to improve yourself. I truly respect a person who I encounter such as my grocery cashier who goes out of her way to say hi, put on a smile and strike up a small conversation with each of her customers. She really stands out, and I remember each encounter til this day. I bet most of you don’t even remember who your grocery cashier person is, but whatever you do, try doing a bit more and you will see how things become more fun and interesting… also it makes you a bit more interesting as well.
Lets talk about you professionally. How have you innovated yourself in the past 10 years, 5 years, 2 years, month? I have met many people who are just comfortable with their current position and never take the time to innovate themselves EVER! During our current economic condition, people are losing jobs and jobs are much harder to find. These people then realize how much competition is out there when they go looking for a job and when asked about their skills, it is either outdated or they are just another job-seeker out of thousands with the same credentials or skills. I am not saying that it is bad to be content with what you do or who you are. It is just important to add a new skill or learn something new so that you can offer more or put more on the table. You can take night classes, learn a new skill, new language, challenge yourself or you can even learn a new craft or art. I am currently innovating myself and investing in myself by pursuing my MBA degree. It is a personal goal for me to accomplish this and even though the commitment is time consuming, but I am learning a lot and once I get the degree, nobody can take that away from me. I also met new friends with similar interests and I grow with each encounter with them.
Remember to strive for balance and not to overdo things. If you commit to something, try delivering your best. Innovate yourself one step at a time and as time passes, you will find that you will have much more to offer than the next person and your life will be much more meaningful and less mundane and boring.