This weekend I was formally initiated into the world of music summer festivals. Maybe it was not seemly to have a 50-year-old heading down the helter-skelter… and at speed, I might add… but no one seemed to mind really.
So it was a weekend of (very) loud music, wearing funky clothes, and eating all the wrong types of food, whilst sitting in the sun (or at least pretending it was sunny). All in all, not too bad really… and most certainly a different crowd to the financial services and science conferences I normally inhabit.
All of this got me thinking about the importance of getting out of your comfort zone and meeting people from all walks of life.
Certainly, when I look at LinkedIn, it sometimes feels like an echo chamber. We are all talking about the same things, to the same group of people about the same topics.
Don’t get me wrong, it is great community, support, and yes, all my contacts, and connections matter. It is after all the professional industry I work in…
However what about all of the connection and yet-to-be contacts we don’t know yet… ones where our paths have not yet crossed?
On average we know around 600 people and about 20 of those are close friends. The world population is now over 7 billion… how many important ideas, new ways of thinking and perspectives are there out there? (even if I just look at other Chris Warburton’s on LinkedIn there are 12 pages of us!).
Now I am not about to have some sort of mid-life crisis, start wearing open-toed sandals (unless paired with white socks of course), and decide that a life in rock and roll is my calling.
However, when we look at our businesses, customers, and employees, it is really important to understand that not everyone is like us. The world is full of other perspectives and they are valuable, a resource for interesting new ideas and approaches.
In reaching out, we may find gold, new horizons, or just not like what we find, yet gain valuable new perspectives.
By repeating the same pattern and doing nothing new, we are most certainly destined to find the same as now.
And, with nearly everyone online, over 150 countries just a flight away and the ability to quickly translate between languages, the world has never been more accessible.
Simply sticking to what we know, in our comfort zone, only scratches the surface of possibilities. Sometimes it is good to do something different.
… now where did I put my comedy glasses?