A typical day! Wake up. Check your phone for text messages and social media. Brush your teeth. Shower. Make coffee. Have breakfast. Go to work. Get the crew out. Do tasks. Check emails. Go to lunch. More tasks, more email. Go home. Maybe exercise. Make dinner. Watch TV. Go to sleep. Wake up and start it all over again.
Each and every day, we have a choice to stick to our routines or to break the mundane. No doubt, some amount of routine can be healthy — it helps us feel organized, reduces risks and lowers stress. But it can also prohibit growth. We can grow accustomed to mediocrity. Unless we make the choice to create an extraordinary routine, or a sort of anti-routine. As we press through the challenges of 2020 and enter the new year, it’s a great time to resist falling into headline news negativity and renew our commitments to everyday innovation.
“Every time you try something new, allow yourself to be open to whatever experience arises,” Dr. Abigail Brenner wrote in Psychology Today. “You are learning and expanding your repertoire of life skills and self-knowledge.” This type of knowledge feeds innovation. A personal exercise that I use to spark innovation is called CAMPS. The acronym stands for Connectivity, Action, Moving the Pieces, Partnerships and Self-Improvement.
CONNECTIVITY means communicating, putting yourself out there and connecting with others. Not only friends or family, but new friends or associates. Send a text message, a note through LinkedIn, or pick up the phone — make a connection. Check in. Especially now. Through simply interacting, you ignite the power to grow and intentionally open the door to thinking and viewing things in a different way. Set a goal to connect with at least one new person and reconnect with someone at least once per week.
With ACTION, be deliberate and random. Make a deliberate choice to do things out of your comfort zone that may feel random or awkward. One of the most useful inventions of our time was sparked by deliberate, random action — a man and his dog on a hunting trip. The man was inspired by burrs sticking to his dog’s fur — and in 1955, George de Mestral invented and patented Velcro.
As adults, we don’t always consider “play” time, yet it is crucial for creativity. Go on a picnic. Listen to podcasts. Run a virtual race for a charity. Be visible — volunteer, join a board. You will ignite a spark by NOT opting out.
MOVING THE PIECES is equivalent to “delegating meets chess” on a bigger, strategic scale. For example, if you work with a general contractor at your course, ask them for help beyond the traditional moving of the pieces. Perhaps they can write a series of articles for your member newsletter or deliver training modules for your crew. This saves time, provides value and shifts you toward strategic, innovative thinking. Consider what things in your life you can shift. Do this at least twice per month.
Pursue unique PARTNERSHIPS that make sense for you using the assets you have. If a start-up is launching, offer your expertise in exchange for equity. If you love taking photos of the course — many superintendents take beautiful pictures — partner with a local artist to design custom greeting cards, paintings or calendars from your photos. If you love to build things, partner with Habitat for Humanity and bring your crew along to change up their routines, motivate and encourage teambuilding. Look for partnerships that align with your personal passions. Aim for one per quarter.
Lastly, always seek ways of SELF-IMPROVEMENT. Take classes, get a certification, read, listen to podcasts, meditate, exercise ... the experience of education spurs questions, ideas and knowledge to expand your thinking. In the words of Louis Pasteur, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” Knowledge and self-awareness help arm us to approach tasks with passion, confidence and vigor. Try to push yourself to improve — in some fashion — daily.
Here’s the thing, we control living to our fullest potential. Amazing things happen when we open ourselves up to what is possible. Try CAMPS. Check in with a loved one or friend once per month to make sure you are doing it. Practice these exercises regularly and you will create a spark in your routine to achieve innovation in every day.