experimental mindset at work
Updated: Mar 30, 2021
live your life as an experiment to overcome fears
Here at Hey Sunday HQ, we’ve started to live life as an experiment.
We’re not actually firing up bunson burners and throwing some liquid nitrogen into a jar with magnesium.
Nope, we’re talking about shaping our mindsets so that they are more open to experimentation and then trying it out with new shit.
We’re all trying to improve ourselves, right?
And deal with the shit life throws at us.
I don’t think we often know what the best approach is. I didn't. Still don't.
Especially now in the - yes, you got it - VUCA world. That's…Volatile…Uncertain…Complex….Ambiguous
Usually, we either dither, think and then act or we just jump in.
Sometimes the approach we choose works, sometimes it doesn’t.
But normally, we get ourselves wedded to a desired outcome that we hope our action will bring. When we don’t get that outcome, we get disheartened and have to pick ourselves up using that old tank of resilience.
So how about treating any situation that comes your way as an experiment? Experimenting is about learning in a fun and playful way.
You don’t have to have the answers all the time.
In fact, it’s likely that you won’t have the answers.
And it’s ok that some experiments don’t work. Failure doesn’t really exist because the results is just information that you can use to improve things: that’s how you learn – think Beaker in the Muppets.
Do the experiment a different way and then see what the outcome is. Hopefully it’s closer to what you would like.
If it isn’t quite close enough, test it again using what you have learnt from the previous go.
If we can be impartial about the outcome, then we spend less energy picking ourselves up when things don’t turn out as we may have expected.
These failures are often temporary. Unless you're Beaker….
This is all well and good, but how do we do this at work?
Let’s come at your work from a different angle. Sales people make hundreds of call each day. What are the results of these calls? 90% failure and 10% success? That’s pretty much an experiment right there. Sales people experiment in their technique and hopefully learn from what didn’t work.
Ask yourself at the end of each day what went well and what went not so well.
This needs discipline and complete honesty.
Now, the elephant in the room: work culture. The work culture needs to be right in order for true curiosity and experimentation to flourish.
We touched on this in another blog post called “curiosity killed the cat”, so please do check it out. Culture and safe spaces really matter.
Overcome the fear
We are all trying to improve ourselves.
True curiosity is about getting the knowledge and putting that knowledge into practice.
If you are curious why your team meetings seem so flat, then try something different.
- Rotate the meeting leader.
- Hold the meeting out of the office.
- Ask people what they want from the meeting.
- Do they want the meeting at all.
- What’s the downside?
Or if you are interested in how drummers have this amazing limb co-ordination, go and try it out. When you fail at your first attempt at co-ordinating between the bass drum and snare (ok, so I’m talking about me, haha!), work out why it went wrong and try it again. Think of those sales calls.
What about a side hustle?
I had an itchy new business idea inside my former company.
But I couldn’t scratch it.
So, I started imagining putting this idea into practice outside and experimenting with what it might look like and whether it would work.
Welcome to Hey Sunday!
What's the buzz?
- Life is a great big experiment brimming full of little experiments for you to try
- Overcome the fear
- Ask yourself what went well and what didn’t go so well
- Be prepared to change
- Don’t sweat the outcomes
- Try things out