Question: I attended an event recently and talked for quite a while with another individual. He was completely boring and didn’t have much to say beyond work stuff. It made me wonder if I too might be one-dimensional. How do I make sure I’m not?
Answer: Your self-awareness is an encouraging sign that you are on the right track. We entrepreneurs can have a tendency to be so focused on our work that we assume everyone else must be interested in this aspect of our lives. The first step in making certain we aren’t one-dimensional is to take a personal inventory. During the past 30-days, make note of all of the activities in which we have participated that are not work-related. If we’ve attended sporting events, the symphony, met friends for dinner, read a book or two, watched a documentary and volunteered at the local food bank, we are probably in pretty good shape.
If you find that you need a bit more variety in your life make a “bucket list.” This isn’t necessarily a bucket list of things you want to do before you die (though it can be), but is simply a list of things that you think might be interesting if you would ever stop eating, breathing and sleeping your work so much.
The hardest part about this is moving out of the work-focus mindset. To move forward and try new things we need to give ourselves permission to do so. That new product idea will still be ready for us to flesh out tomorrow if we take a cooking class tonight. We’ll still have time to complete the spreadsheet that needs to be created for next week’s presentation if we take a piano lesson or spend some time at the gym. Try new things. Meet new people. Twenty years ago there is no way that I would have envisioned doing the things I am now outside of my profession. And in so doing, it’s opened a whole new world for me that has made me a much better entrepreneur. Why? Because adding more dimension to my life has stimulated my creativity and kept me fresh. I’m more receptive to new concepts and I find it fascinating to talk to other people about many things other than business.
If you choose to walk down this path don’t despair if at first it’s a slow go. You’ve become accustomed to doing things a certain way and you can’t broaden your horizons overnight. But your enthusiasm will grow and I guarantee you’ll be a better entrepreneur and a better person overall.
The best antidote to being one-dimensional is an open mind. The world is full of opportunity beyond our own little backyard. There are so many new and wonderful things to experience. That said, I still hate eggplant and rhubarb.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.