Sometimes in life the best choice you can make is to go away.
If I had to look back at every major shift in my own life, I can attribute it to a change in environment.
It’s easy to be lured by a life filled with comfort, predictable outcomes, and security. When I look back at what it was like being a high school English teacher, my days were very straightforward. I got up early, taught all day, corrected papers, and did some activity in the evenings before going to sleep and starting the whole cycle again. Every two weeks my bank account, as if by magic, filled with money and I could buy some things that were fun.
Of course after a few years, I got restless so I got involved in the New York theatre scene. Through this I learned about all kinds of shows, events, and communities throughout the city that weren’t at all interested in things like Regents scores, performance standards, or teaching methodology. In fact, I would not be writing these words on this platform right now had it not been for meeting people in entertainment who introduced me to the founder of Pregame.
Through the entertainment world I eventually became involved in Broadway and through interning with a famous Broadway producer I was introduced to the works of Seth Godin which introduced me to the idea that I could be more than a cog in a machine. This caused me to leave teaching and start a whole other adventure as a producer.
If it hadn’t been for leaving my steady job and having to figure things out as I went, I would have never learned how to be an entrepreneur. I could easily go on about this, but the core lesson is this:
Going away from where you are right now can move you closer to where you’d like to be in the future.
If you feel like your life has become predictable and you’re not happy with that, ask how often you talk to the same people about the same things. Ask how often you attend the same events or read the same material. Chances are there is some room to go and explore.
Here are a few ways you can get away today without planning an elaborate trip.
- Attend an event outside of your industry. Are you running a marketing firm and going to networking events? What if today you went to a Crossfit class? You probably will meet a lot of people who aren’t knee deep in things like Snapchat and Periscope and you may learn some new things that you can bring back to your business. There are so many cool things out there to check out and often take little more than a quick google search to find. This can also provide a nice break from all of the jargon your industry may have.
- Work somewhere different. Sure your office or co-working space may have free coffee and cap’n crunch, but what if you brought your laptop to the sunny deck of a restaurant you like or did some work in a park or public atrium? Many times when I have done this, I have struck up conversations with people who have fascinating stories and who are doing innovative projects. It’s really like being in a completely different world.
- Take a walk. This is arguably one of the most underrated activities for coming up with new ideas. I have come up with new business models, names for projects, and ideas for people to connect with all while taking a stroll. Your brain needs a break to be able to make connections and solve problems and taking 15-20 minutes to walk around can be a great way to supercharge that process.
There are plenty of other ways that you can get out of your current environment, but the most important thing is that you do make it a point to get out once and awhile.
Staying in the same place requires no effort at all, but the longer we stay there, the more effort it takes to leave.
Seriously, stop reading this and go somewhere new right now.
Trust me, you’ll feel better.
Artwork by Alex Nuñez, “Put some lipstick on and pull yourself together,” 2015, mixed media on canvas, 62″ x 48”