Trailblazing isn’t just for computer geeks and math prodigies. Each of us has some pioneer spirit we can tap into.
Whatever your personal vision, the odds of success may be better than you think. For example, you may have heard the often-repeated factoid that 9 out of 10 new businesses fail. Actually, about 50% of all fledgling businesses survive 5 years or more, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It’s time to stop underestimating your abilities and start pursuing your vision. Take a look at the benefits of being a trailblazer and how to take the first steps.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Benefits of Being a Trailblazer
1. Relieve anxiety. Would you believe that going out on a limb will make you feel more secure? That’s because giving in to your fears reinforces them. When you tackle challenges head on, you see how strong you are.
2. Build confidence. Your self-esteem grows as you put forth effort and rack up accomplishments. You see the positive impact of your actions.
3. Enjoy greater freedom. Most activities become more interesting after you master the basics and can start focusing on how to enhance the outcomes. Even housework and commuting become opportunities for innovation.
4. Inspire others. Feel good about being a role model. When you question the status quo, you help others to unleash their creativity too.
5. Find gratification. Most of all, being a trailblazer allows you to devote your life to the projects that excite you. You may invent something big or just be glad that you took a chance on creating a meaningful life.
How to Be a Trailblazer
1. Generate ideas. Feel free to think big and try new things. The more ideas you have, the more you have to choose from.
2. Pursue your passions. Set your priorities according to your core values. Where do you want to devote your time and resources?
3. Learn from experience. Being a trailblazer requires perseverance. It’s okay to take a wrong turn, as long as you use it as a guide for what to do next time. Forgive yourself and move on with greater wisdom and motivation.
4. Welcome feedback. It’s easy to be blinded by the beauty of your own vision. Ask colleagues and experts for their candid opinions, and listen with an open mind. Give your critics a head start by pointing out any weaknesses you know you need to work on.
5. Build alliances. You can accomplish more when you collaborate with others. Find partners who complement your abilities and share your objectives.
6. Slow down. It may sound counterintuitive, but moving too fast can hinder innovation. You want to give yourself time to reflect so you can move past conventional thinking and allow your unique perspective to surface.
7. Balance your risks. There’s a difference between being a trailblazer and being reckless. Be motivated by the opportunity to do something worthwhile. Increase your chances of success by considering the consequences of your choices and developing backup plans.
8. Review your progress. When you’re venturing into unfamiliar territory, you want to check your map occasionally to be sure you’re still on course. Assess your performance at regular intervals so you can make midcourse adjustments.
9. Focus on rewards. Inaction may feel comfortable, but you could wind up regretting what you miss out on. Encourage yourself to take risks by looking at what you have to gain.
If you can spot opportunities and implement your ideas, you can be a trailblazer. Believe in yourself and your vision while you forge your own path in life.