Tuesday, September 27, 2016

You Don't Learn Anything by Looking in the Mirror

I read this somewhere. It captivated me. What did it mean? How could I apply it to my business life?

When I look in the mirror, I see the same face I’ve been looking at for a lot of years. Albeit it has aged. But in all probability it’s the same today as it was yesterday, last week, last month and maybe even a year ago. The only way I could change it is by altering my hairstyle or applying make-up differently (if at all). If I look deeper I’ll be looking at a face that represents “me,” my values, my ethics, and all the good things by which I live. It will also be a reminder of my insecurities. What it will not tell me is the perspective of others.

And therein lies the message. If you look at your business life through the mirror of solely your experiences, your ideas, your needs…then you never grow. You need to look away from the mirror and see what others are seeing, learn about their thoughts, ideas, inspirations, and perspectives.

Here at Extraordinary Events we share. Now I may be at the business of event planning longer than anyone else in my company (or probably anyone else at any other company as well), but it’s a new world every day, and I don’t know everything. Or as my stepfather would have put it, “The wise man knows what he doesn’t know.” So we brainstorm; we share ideas; we talk about our opportunities from different perspectives. Much of the team is very young. They see things differently than I do. Their departure from traditional thinking is enlivening and provocative.

I have always been a student. That hasn’t changed. Travel has broadened my horizons personally and professionally. I have met new people from different cultures; I have seen events as they are produced in China, in India, in Europe,  in Morocco, in Latin America… the list could go on. They inspire me as I can learn from them, and I can teach them in return. It’s a fair exchange.

What’s beyond the mirror is the world. I want to see more than me.

Here’s an invitation for you. I would like to encourage you to share with our other readers the differences you see between looking into the mirror and then looking outside of it. I think that when we share our stories we all learn from each other, which is the entire point of this blog. What life changing experiences have you encountered through exploration or risk? And send photos. Please.

Andrea Michaels is founder and president of Extraordinary Events, a multi-award-winning international event agency based in Los Angeles. Andrea is the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower: Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life and an in-demand speaker and leading voice in the special events industry. She may be reached via amichaels@extraordinaryevents.com.

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