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Breaking out of your shell

Posted on : 11-08-2010 | By : Adam Piotrowski | In : Business, Change, Networking, Relationships


How often to you take a minute and try to think about the aspects of your persona that could possibly be holding you back from achieving your goals?

I don’t spend enough time focusing on the things I’m not good at.  Let’s face it, if we’re not good at something we probably don’t enjoy it and if we don’t enjoy it then, you guessed it, we’d probably rather not spend time thinking about it.  We’d all rather focus on the things we love doing and do well, no?

One of the first times I remember being aware of this need was thanks to my high school soccer coach.  Soccer wasn’t the biggest sport in MN when I was growing up.  It wasn’t really that big at all.  But somehow that’s what I loved and thanks to my Dad spending countless hours with me in the backyard I was able to get pretty good at it.  Good enough that I could always get by focusing on the parts of the game I was good at and loved while getting away with not doing all the little things (ahem defense anyone?).  But hey, it’s not like they were going to put someone else in for me, right? So I thought.

That changed in high school because our coach was a great coach.  I think I probably hated him at first because it seemed like all we talked about was the things I didn’t do well.  Of course, all I could think was: “But hey, can’t you see how hard I can shoot?  Or how many guys I megged (put the ball through a defender’s legs)?”

Now I know that he did appreciate those things (ok, maybe not the excessive megging), but what he knew that I didn’t was that being great at a few things is not good enough if you don’t address your weak points.  While not a superstar by any means, except for maybe in the eyes of my parents, I was able to play at a pretty decent college level and have some success beyond what most soccer players growing up in MN were able to be a part of.  I can say without a doubt that would never had happened had it not have been for my coach’s insistence on focusing on the weaker parts of my game.

So now as I enter a new chapter in my professional life and try to make the switch from player to leader I’ve been asking myself what are the weak parts of my game?  What aspects do I need to get better at that need to help me follow-through on a more consistent basis?

Given that I just relocated to Nashville and am in a new place with a limited network what I’m focusing on first is breaking out of my shell and putting myself out there more.   Don’t get me wrong, I’m not shy, but I’m also not the one to typically just start the conversation.  One step I’m trying to take here is to make a more conscious effort to meet more people.  I’ve always said that your life is only as good as the people you have around you.  That’s easy to say when you have a great group of friends and family.  But what happens when you’re thrust into a new environment?

I feel like I’ve met a lot of great people already in my first few weeks in Nashville.  That’s not to say that there’s a greater population of great people here than in other places I’ve lived, but I’m making more of an effort.  Part of the thanks goes to Ryan Bitzer who I was fortunate to meet over coffee a couple of weeks ago.  Ryan spends his days as VP of Business Development at sparkart.com making kick-ass websites and implementing online marketing strategies for artists like Bon Jovi and Carrie Underwood. A like-minded individual also passionate about music and interactive media, I tried to take a page out or Ryan’s book when he told me that he has a weekly goal of trying to meet two new people every week.

I had never heard that before, but it sounded great so I thought why not.  So far, so good and I’ve met some really cool people.  Let’s face it, there are a lot of great people out there (and yes, a few not-so-great ones as well, but win some, lose some), but how many do you ever get the chance to even share a conversation with.  We can always learn something new from someone else.  That’s what growing is about, no?

So I’m breaking out of my shell.  Not sure who the two new people will be this week.  Maybe you if we haven’t met?

And I’ll throw down the gauntlet to you as well, invite someone you don’t know to coffee or a beer this week and come tell us about it.

Comments (1)

good to see that you’re not walking around with your hoodie on and your head down. Nice work AJP