I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about the kind of people I want to bring onto my teams at work. It leads me to think about the kind of people I want in my life as well. I have a wide variety of people in my life. People from my work, people from my church, people in my neighborhood. Overwhelmingly the people I gravitate towards are the people who are like open books. Who speak openly of their pasts as learning experiences not as defining experiences. They use all that experience to bring others into their story. Not create a barrier of knowledge.
If our lives are like a great recipe for bread, how do the people in your life add or takeaway from the recipe your trying to make? You need just the right amounts of different things to make it perfect, but if you add too much of this or that, it goes way off.
You need need a bunch of flour to make bread. You need some sugar. You don’t need a lot of salt, it goes a long way. Salt might be compared to someone who needs a lot of attention. I think it is good to have a few of those in your life, some people to guide and help through some things. But if you have a ton of those you will get drained really quickly. Sugar could be someone you just go have fun with and you can just enjoy each others company, without the need to get really deep all the time. I think it’s good to have some of that as well, but just a bit. If that’s all you have you will feel the way you feel after eating a Cinnabon, fat and empty inside!
As I am building teams and adding people, the ingredient I look for most is humility. It is the flour in my recipe, we need a lot of it! It is so much easier for me to guide someone who is too humble than to guide someone who is too confident. A humble person can be built up to the right amount of confidence. An overconfident person can’t even hear you sometimes. If you have something to correct in an overconfident person, you first have to break through their “wall of knowing” before you can even really talk to them. I like people who come into situations like a child. Like a beginner, every time. For real creativity to hit, we must be like children. If we have it all figured out already we are not creating anything new, we are just running through the motions. We might as well have a machine do it. If we come in as beginners who don’t know all the answers and ask stupid questions and ask “what if?” we will hit on some magic. That is why I like to know just enough to get me into a conversation, but not enough to know how hard something actually is.
That is the kind of person I am looking for on my teams and in my life. It is also the person I strive to be. A humble, experienced, beginner. I like the sound of that. Someone who comes in to new situations with a lot of experience but doesn’t automatically think they know the answers. Someone whose experience leads them to have reference points to compare too, but they use that experience to bring people and ideas together, not become the lone rockstar.
How do you come at life? How do you come at your work? How can you better come at it like a humble, experienced beginner?