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Awesome You Be


   

Cartoon: Personal Innovation

A Quick Introduction to the Wonders of Personal Innovation

By Jeffrey Baumgartner

Personal innovation is the act of improving yourself by making changes in who, what and how you are in order to improve yourself and your world.

Personal innovation may include...

Experimentation and Risk

While books, workshops, videos and coaches can provide direction, a framework and tips on improving yourself, you will ultimately have to try things out for yourself to see how they work for you. That will involve experimentation.

You can read a book on how to give business presentations to increase your knowledge. But, to innovate yourself and improve your presentation skills, you will need to experiment with the book's advice to determine what works for you. As you do so, you will probably also develop some of your own ideas that you can experiment with you.

Of course, experimentation does involve some risk. If the book suggests starting a presentation with a joke, you try it out and no one finds the joke funny, you may feel embarrassed. No worries. your bad joke will soon be forgotten by everyone (except perhaps you), but you will have learned from your mistake.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Because personal innovation involves trying out new things, making changes in your life and experimentation, it also involves making mistakes. Sometimes a lot of mistakes. As a rule of thumb, the more ambitious your innovation, the more mistakes you are likely to make.

You will never become a great tap dancer without tripping over your own feet a lot in the beginning. Each and every great violinist has made some horrible sounds with her instrument in the early days of learning to play. The juggler who can today keep a dozen eggs in the air once struggled not to drop three tennis balls.

The critical thing is to learn from your mistakes in order to grow and become more talented. The tap dancer needs to work out why she tripped over her feet; the violinist needs to understand why the horrible sound emanated from her instrument when she intended a C minor; and the juggler needs to pick up the tennis balls and try again and again and again, improving his technique each time.

Sometimes, you need to analyse your mistakes to understand what went wrong (as in the violinist). Sometimes you just need to pick yourself up and try again (as in the juggler).

Even as you get better, I hope you will still make mistakes because you should continue to be more ambitious, pushing your ability to improve continually. But with each mistake, you will learn more and become better.

What Works for You Works Best

As you experiment and make mistakes, you need to work out what works for you. This can be difficult. Self-help books often preach their method as the one and only method of helping yourself. Trainers often teach a particular method. These methods may work for you. They may not. At the very least, you will need to modify the method to suit your needs.

Fancy writing a novel? Some experts argue that you need to start with an outline, plot out all the details and then start writing to fill in your outline. Yet many novelists (including me) start out with a cast of characters and the vague notion of a plot and just start writing. Other novelists have yet other approaches. But each aspiring novelist needs to work out what works best for her.

Keep on Innovating Yourself

Personal innovation is not a one-off thing. Rather, you should be continually innovating yourself as you grow older, wiser and more experienced. You may even decide to reinvent yourself from time to time. This newsletter, and the website, exist to help you on that path of personal innovation. As Yoda from Star Wars would put it, "Awesome you be."

How can I help you? If you have questions or are confused about your own path in life, get in touch.

 

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