How to Harness the Power of Experimentation for Personal & Career Growth

A while back, I worked in a lab. And while I no longer spend my days pouring over test tubes and microscopes, I’ve carried the power of experimentation into my new role as a leadership and career coach. What’s the link? Bear with me…

In my coaching practice, I often work with clients who are hungry for positive change. Maybe they want to be better leaders, improve their professional skills, or boost their confidence. But as we all know, change is hard. It requires new beliefs, new habits, and new ways of doing things.

Change is Hard. Experiment!

That’s where the power of experimentation comes in. When my clients want to make a change, I often ask them to conduct “experiments” in their day-to-day life. The idea is to test out new behaviors or approaches in real-world situations and see what happens.

Here’s why it works:

Practice Makes Perfect

Just like a scientist needs to run an experiment multiple times to get accurate results, we need to practice new behaviors to get the hang of them. Trying something once and expecting it to stick is like expecting to run a marathon after one jogging session. It doesn’t work that way.

Real-Life Data

When you experiment with new behaviors in your day-to-day life, you get to see how they work in real-world situations. You get immediate feedback, and you can adjust and tweak as you go along.

Learning from Experience

As you try out new behaviors, you get to experience how they feel, how others respond, and what the outcomes are. This firsthand experience helps solidify the learning in your mind and body.

Ownership of Change

When you experiment and see the results for yourself, the change comes from within you. You’re not just following someone else’s advice blindly; you’re actively participating in your own growth. And that’s powerful stuff.

It’s Fun

Let’s face it, experimenting is fun. It’s like playing a game where you get to try out new things and see what happens. It adds a bit of excitement and adventure to life.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Sounds great, but where do I start?” Here’s a little experiment to get you started. Pick one area of your life where you’d like to see some positive change. Maybe you want to be more assertive at work, or you want to improve your listening skills. Then, come up with a small experiment you can try out in your day-to-day life. Maybe you’ll speak up in a meeting when you usually stay quiet, or you’ll practice active listening during a conversation with a friend.

As you conduct your experiment, pay attention to what happens. How do you feel? How do others respond? What outcomes do you notice? Keep a journal of your observations, and use them to refine your approach and try new experiments. Remember, you’re both the researcher and the subject here. You’re in control, and you have all the tools you need to make a positive change in your life and career.

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