The Art of Teeter-Tottering at Work & in Life

As a kid, did you ever get bumped to the ground when your friend slipped off the teeter-totter with you suspended in mid-air? That knock to the ground was disorienting.

As adults, we face a similar kind of teeter-totter. It’s the one where we work to find the right balance between doing the ‘tried and true’ and venturing into unknown territory.

The ‘tried and true’ feels safe. If it’s worked before, do it again. No need to reinvent the wheel.

In some ways, that’s true.  If you’ve got a proven way of approaching something, it makes sense to keep doing it, making marginal improvements along the way. There’s a feeling of expertise when doing the tried and true.

On the other hand, expansion – that’s real BIG growth – often comes from stepping into the unknown.  It’s scary ‘cause there’s no guarantee of success. There’s a chance you could be knocked to the ground. ☹

The trick is to find the right balance between the two: repeat behaviour that has worked before to maximize your efficiency AND take some chances too. If you focus too much on the tried and true, you are likely trading off BIG growth (professionally and personally) for smaller, safe growth. Why not think BIGGER?

Think about the ways you approach your work and your life. Make note of tried-and-true ways that you want to repeat AND some fresh, new things you want to try. It can be anything from trying a new hobby to making a new recipe to using a creative thinking tool like a Mind Map to spark fresh thinking. Anything goes.

And remember, even if you’re bumped to the ground in the trying, pick yourself back up, regain your balance, and step onto that teeter-totter again. It's worth the ride. 

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