Bottom Line Inc

Get Out

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When I’m meeting with my team, it is not uncommon for me to tell them to “get out”—not just when we are done talking but when we are talking about their personal and professional growth and how important it is to regularly step outside their standard routine in order to learn and grow.

Sure, there always is more work to be done at your desk or in the office. Important deadlines…meetings to attend—all seemingly very urgent. But far more important is the ability to gain new perspective and knowledge that you can get only when you meet new people in new environments. This holds true for both your professional life and personal life.

By speaking with only the same people, you risk creating a vacuum of isolated ideas and lack of progress.

Bottom Line would not be transforming as we are in this complex world of content if we had not gotten out to discover new ideas.

At home, we all fall into our ruts, right? The same foods…the same friends…the same routines. But what if you found some new people to mix into your crowd? Or visited new restaurants?

My father-in-law was very much a man of ritual, eating the same food at the same restaurant every Tuesday since the day I met him until the day he died. But before his recent death, my husband and I decided that when we visited my father-in-law, we would take him on new adventures to find the “best hamburger in his city.” It made it a fun game for all of us to explore new parts of the city, new menus and then to rate the hamburger-du-jour.

Mind you, deep down inside, I am one of the worst offenders when it comes to getting out. Our own experts used to tease me about how rarely they would see me. In spite of my external “verve,” I am not naturally “verve-y,” and it takes a lot of energy for me to be the “charming, inquisitive, engaged” person that I am at business functions. I actually am an introvert who puts my head out into the world for a while but then much prefers the comfort of my own space in order to recharge. All that said, every time I take my own advice and get out, I am sooooooo glad that I did it.

For starters, if I had not forced myself to go to a party where I knew only a few people nearly 35 years ago, I would not have met my husband. That alone should have reformed me for life—and it did somewhat. Now I make plans but secretly regret them as time gets closer, thinking that I would rather be home. But I push through, and whether business or pleasure, every time I step out of my box to attend a convention, party, trade show, business function or simple dinner, I come back stimulated by the people I met and what I learned.

Case in point. I just returned from the Expo West Natural Products show in California, where I had an amazing time both personally and professionally. I discovered acres of natural foods, personal-care products and nutritional supplements.

And even better were the people I met and the business relationships I created. My main objectives on this trip were to find unique new products, consistent with the advice from Bottom Line’s experts, that we could bring to our customers at our expert-curated Bottom Line Store and to find distributors who could help us do it. Mission accomplished. I met some amazingly dedicated and creative providers who were very happy to help us create this new channel of business. They showed me products that are not available from other providers and offered creative solutions for some of our shipping challenges. Even the people who could not help us were glad to have made the connection.

Most inspiring, I think, was to watch entrepreneurialism in action—people putting themselves and their ideas out for the world to see…hundreds of small businesses whose founders were chasing their dreams. They were eager to share their stories and their products, all hoping to be picked up by one of the major distributors. (One of the more touching booths was the 15-year-old boy standing next to his father as they handed out samples of barbeque-flavored snacks. I chatted with the boy for a few minutes about helping his family to launch their products to the world.)

It was good to get home after just three days away. But in spite of the hours of conversation and miles of walking on the convention center’s concrete floor, I came back energized by the lessons I learned and the people I met…ready to get out some more.

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Source: Sarah Hiner is president and chief executive officer of Stamford, Connecticut–based Bottom Line Inc., which publishes books and the consumer newsletters Bottom Line Health and Bottom Line Personal.
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