Are you unintentionally creating self-imposed boundaries for your professional self? When do you create these? What stories do you tell yourself, denying the existence of these impediments? How do these limits make you feel secure, comfortable, and end up keeping you professionally static?
Last week’s blog post focused on the importance of creating a habit of self-acknowledgment: inward affirmation. Acknowledge yourself first. Become less dependent on external recognition as your primary source of sense of self and purpose.
Today’s post takes the self-acknowledgment habit one millimeter forward. Self-affirmation gives you permission to stop holding yourself back today. Why not get to where you really need to go tomorrow?
Self-imposed boundaries keep you firmly centered and comfortable in your professional core competencies. However, the more comfortable you are, you are less curious about and open to exploring professional concepts dissimilar to your own. What you do not know today may be exactly what you need to know tomorrow.
First, when you color inside the lines, you remain satisfied with your current work environment, which may be delightfully homogeneous rather than cross-functional. Yet innovation and creativity reside at the edges and boundary lines of those core competencies. Why continue to reinforce departmental mindset and professional value silos? Why not take the risk to start coloring outside the lines? Explore one millimeter further than your current professional horizons.
Next, when you color inside the lines, you re-convince yourself that you are not “smart enough” or “educated enough” or some other type of “enough.” Thus, you do not consider yourself to be professionally credible to people outside your pay grade or professional discipline. As a result, you do not assume the risk of reaching out today to people residing at the professional edges and boundary lines of what is possible tomorrow. When you only color inside the lines of your self-imposed boundaries, how can you each enjoy your cross-functional relevance and value to each other?
Yes, it is convenient to continue to finger-point to existing boundaries created by your employer’s cultures. However, you control whether you color outside the lines of your own self-imposed boundaries. Thus, you become accountable: to yourself. When you choose to take your first millimeter step beyond what is comfortable for you, you discover that business cultures, models, and hiring practices have far more wiggle room than you assume.
Each day this week, choose to start coloring outside the lines of your self-imposed boundaries, one millimeter at a time. Become aware of when, where, how and why you impose these boundaries on yourself. When you become self-aware, you become more accountable and responsible: to you and for you. Your colleagues and clients will notice the difference in the outcomes you create together: today, tomorrow and moving forward.
I catalyze cross-functional, collaborative, profitable, and sustainable solutions across value silos. | Professional Innovation | Cross Functional Leadership | Complex Problem Solving | Speaker, Consultant, Coach |
- Need to stop spinning your wheels professionally? Searching for a speaker focused on doing the smallest things with the biggest impact to get you towards what is new and next? Then engage me to present a One Millimeter Mindset ™ program! Delivered virtually or in-person.
Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset™ programs catalyze people who solve problems differently to collaborate more successfully across traditional value silos. Become more professionally visible, cross-functionally relevant, and strategically valuable as you create and implement innovative and robust business outcomes together. Babette is a business-oriented STEM professional, qualitative Voice of the Customer facilitator, PMI-certified Wicked Problem Solver, Duke Corporate Education licensed Strategic Agility practitioner, and Six Sigma Green Belt (Quality). She is a member of SHRM, PMI, and the National Speakers Association (NSA). Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available in soft cover and digital formats on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here. Image source: Adobe Stock.