Why you should design new experiences into your life

4 min read

“At an individual level, when life calls for change, we always feel tensions, sometimes pleasant, sometimes unsettling. There are habits we have grown fond of; our identity is invested in certain situations. But when change isn't imposed from the outside, from above; when we personally feel powerful and responsible; when there is a safe space where we can have meaningful conversations about all of this...chances are that embracing change is somewhat easier.” ― Frederic Laloux,

As you have probably seen, we have been piloting out a new program that focuses on our own individual levels of emotional intelligence and how we can empower ourselves to navigate this element of our lives to become our best selves but also - be the best culture champions that our teams deserve.

The focus of this program is all about “Advancing your emotional intelligence.” We are thinking of calling it "Perennial EQ."

Perennial EQ


To really test this out, I have been participating in the program we are piloting myself, which starts with taking an EQ assessment and then putting together an individual development plan that is tailored to your goals and results. For me, self-regard (respecting oneself, confidence) and independence (self-directed; free from emotional dependency) both scored the lowest in my results.

Part of these results is the whole reason I am doing this "Adventure of Me," and trying new things by myself that push me outside of my comfort zone - both focused on helping me build more confidence in myself as well as independence.

To provide an example, to really push this to the limits, I have been doing something that was extremely uncomfortable for me to do but has opened up another level of development and awareness about myself. And also has truly led to helping me improve my self-regard and independence. 

What is this new thing? Well... I have been taking dance lessons. 

Yes, dance lessons. Tango, Mambo, Waltz, Hustle, Cha Cha, Swing... You name it. Both 1:1 lessons and group lessons. In my opinion, the group lessons are hilarious. So far the partners I have been paired with have been very generous with their patience. 

But it did not start out as a fun, energizing, confidence-building experience. The first two times I went to class, I probably sat in my car for an extra 5 minutes just mentally preparing myself to walk into this place. 

3, 4, 5 classes later and I actually look forward to it now. I'm also becoming much more comfortable doing other independent activities in other areas of my life. And overall self-esteem and regard for myself feel extremely high and empowering. 

So what does this mean?

What I have quickly noticed is, there is a lot of power in trying something for the first time. 

You will tend to notice that when you design new experiences and open yourself up to different kinds of learning, this can be both uncomfortable and catalyzing, allowing us to access deeper sources of knowing. 

What you are doing here is flexing your “cognitive flexibility” muscle and strengthening that piece of your emotional intelligence - Cognitive flexibility is the mind’s ability to jump between different ideas, and areas of your life - a key component of creativity.

For instance, a recent study published in the Academy of Management Journal found that the most creative fashion lines in the last decade were produced by fashion designers who took on new experiences abroad. It found that something as simple as “new sounds, smells, language, tastes, sensations, and sights” sparked different synapses in the brain and boosted a new way of thinking. 

As anyone in the workforce today knows, it’s all too easy to get stuck in tunnel vision and focus solely on the items in front of you — especially when there are a million and a half things required to get there. However, new experiences directly correlate with innovation and success, even if it’s not apparent at all how they do so. 

And at a personal level, innovation means growth in your emotional intelligence. It means developing new ways of thinking. 

So you should find similar methods to create new experiences that boost your emotional development.

Steve Jobs commonly participated in new experiences and learnings throughout his life such as taking a calligraphy class in college only to end up using that to introduce typography into the Mac when it was first designed. The first computer to use multiple typefaces or fonts. 

The key to his success wasn’t just working fervently on the next product or iPhone; it was also constantly taking on new practices, even if he couldn’t see how they directly contributed to his success.

Or as he put it, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

That being said, I am not sure how these dance classes are really going to connect in the future. I have yet to even remember which steps go with which dance. At the very least, my instructor says I have rhythm... So that's enough to keep me going! But already looking backward, It has connected and taught me that I am more capable then I think. And that has greatly impacted my self-regard and independence.

So really start to think about, which areas are you looking to develop yourself in, and what new experiences can you engage with to flex these muscles. 

Here are some tips you should consider to take the blinders off and increase your curiosity and creativity - 

  • Get out or switch it up
    • Find something within your daily routine that is easy to switch up. Order a foreign cuisine for lunch, or listen to a completely different kind of music throughout the day. Involve your team by asking them for input and suggestions. Who knows, it could even lead to innovative collaboration opportunities.
  • Take SMART risks
    • The biggest risk is not taking any risk.
    • That’s why you should constantly assess if you’re just treading water carefully, or taking the right amount of risk to move forward.
  • Go “back to school”
    • Walk into work tomorrow and act as if you’ve never been there before. Ask questions about everything you’re doing. Ask if you’re finding the quickest route from point A to point B. Ask if your approach will produce your best and greatest work.
    • Just ask more questions in every conversation and listen openly. 
  • “Force” yourself to take on something new

Want to learn more about this pilot program and/or wondering how you might upskill yourself and your team through our soft skill development programs? 

Set up a call with us today to talk more!



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