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being open, growing more

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Diana Reaves | Apr 16, 2018 | Photograph by: Nadim Merrikh

Feeling closed off, sluggish, or stuck at work?  Trying to hit your stride as you adjust to something new?

Maybe it’s simply time to lift restrictions that you’ve either consciously or unconsciously placed on yourself.  I’m talking about making an honest effort to be open, to try new things, to be inspired, and to grow―come what may.


Hidden Talents

When I was young, I took ballet.  I was pretty good, too.  During my last year of dance, I was offered the spring ballet solo.  However, talk to anyone who has met me in my thirties, and they’ll have no idea I ever donned a tutu.  I’m actually quite clumsy now, not to mention short and busty.

As a 15-year-old, I never imagined I’d write poetry in my twenties.  When I was a teacher, I never dreamed I’d someday start my own freelance business.  Until a few months ago, I didn’t know I could write powerful storyboards or voiceover material for ads.

My point is, you’re brimming with hidden talents, and neither ageing nor settling into a long-term position changes this amazing fact.

The truth is, we evolve.  We stretch and bend every day according to our opportunities, setbacks, and surroundings, and along the journey, we create this remarkable, one-of-a-kind skill set.

Here’s the catch, though: I’ve found you have to consciously step away from your comfort zone to access this talent treasure trove.  You have to believe you are smart enough, creative enough, and/or experienced enough to succeed.  (By the way, you are.)

Though taking risks can be difficult and failure is possible, don’t be afraid to raise your hand at the Monday morning team meeting.  If there’s a task you feel you can accomplish with your own personal flair, accept the challenge.  At the very least, you’ll learn something new about yourself and be a step closer to unveiling another specialty.


Learning the Hard Way

When we hear of “learning the hard way,” we think of making our own mistakes and suffering.  But I’m not talking about failure and all it teaches us.  I’m considering how hard it can be to learn from other people around us.

Perhaps the fact that we’re often competing either directly or indirectly in the workplace is what keeps us from building fruitful professional relationships.  We compete for promotions, favour, office space, and the list goes on.

However, I’ve discovered that being open to new people and their different methods and style is actually rewarding.  But you’ve got to maintain an appetite for growth, and you have to be careful about who you’re learning from.  There are both positive and negative influences out there.

I encourage you to keep an open mind about how you might “adopt and adapt.”  If you’re looking for effective strategies or time-saving practices, talk to others.  You might adopt a tactic and adapt it to fit your needs.  Opening yourself up to different perspectives and others’ unique experiences can help you find community and achieve maximum success.


The “C” Word

You know the word.  Change.  It can be dreaded, much-needed, thrilling, or crushing.  It’s always inevitable.  Sometimes we see it up ahead, and sometimes it blindsides us.  Occasionally, we initiate it ourselves.  But no matter how it comes, sooner or later, it arrives.

How you handle change is what really counts.  Being open to that change is part of a healthy mindset that you cultivate every day.  Yes, when you’re open to it, you’re welcoming the opportunity for self-development and transformative experiences.

Even if the changes you face are devastating, if they’re permanent and out of your control, then it’s best to adjust your sails and see the effects as catalysts for personal growth.  Just because something is unexpected doesn’t mean it’s terrible.  You never know: you might stumble into a surprising talent or inspiring individual along the way.




Natalie Hughes founded Miss Independent in 2017, to educate and mentor women and help them make their best career and business decisions. Natalie is an experienced business woman and non-executive company director focused on organisational design, strategy, growth and innovation. Her goal is to help you think differently, work differently and feel in control of your own destiny.

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