In a start-up culture, it is easy to get lost in your own world. This world includes our own language, colleague chemistry, and work ethic—and it is fine to have these unique traits internally. But we need to remember that many of our customers and peers don’t speak the language of a start-up, which isolates you from them in the long run. It is important to always take the time to step out of that world, making sure not to forget the big picture. This will allow you to connect and interact with the real world that you live and work in.
There are many ways to gain a broader perspective. Below are some suggestions from successful entrepreneurs who have found the secret to not becoming lost in their own world.
1. Use your Periscope
Tunnel vision is common in start-ups. Jordan Milne compares the entrepreneurial culture to being that of a submarine—while you’re in the working zone, you are all underwater, immersed in the job and focusing on moving forward. But like a submarine, it’s important to use your periscope. At times you may need to adjust your course. Taking a break to see where you actually are in the bigger scheme of things can help you do just that.
Jordan notes that entrepreneurs often find solutions, or scrap unfruitful tasks, right after coming back from a vacation. The change of perspective has allowed the person to realise how valuable (or invaluable) certain projects really are in the big picture. He encourages us to make sure this fresh perspective occurs everyday, and not just after our winter break. We can do this by simply changing our work setting a few times a day.
Lesson: Change your scenery to get a different perspective.
2. Experience Art
Matias Dalsgaard, founder of the successful start-up GoMore.dk, has something most entrepreneurs don’t: A PhD in Philosophy. He believes that a reason why entrepreneurs become too narrow focused, is because their work becomes their main form of stimulation. During this process, we shrink the horizon of our imaginations—curbing our creative abilities, and our connection to humanity.
To extend our horizons once more, we need to fill our minds with culture. Experience art in different forms—watch movies, read philosophy, listen to music etc. Stimulate your mind so that it has more touch points than just your work. This will allow you to see the bigger picture that your work plays a role in.
Lesson: Broaden your imagination by enjoying art.
3. Truly Listen
In a world filled with the voices of entrepreneurs trying to stand out, we tend to overlook an important trait: Listening. Serial entrepreneur, Martin Bjergegaard, spent time interviewing successful entrepreneurs from around the world, looking to find the keys to success while having work-life balance. One important lesson that he learned was the art of active listening.
Whether it is listening to your customers, family, or co-workers—when you actively listen, people are more likely to share their honest opinions. By filling the listening role in a conversation, you begin to see other perspectives more clearly. This in turn will make your own perspective much broader and help you see the big picture more clearly.
Lesson: Truly listen to other peoples’ perspectives, and you will broaden your own.
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