For a few years I was part of a group of women mentors at a local university. The school has a program that matches sophomore women in the business school with women already out in the workplace. The role of the mentor is to share ideas, tips, information, support and hopefully wisdom to help the students be as prepared as possible to launch into the work world.
At one of the events, all of the mentors were asked to share what one trait each of us considered vital to being successful. There’s a lot of pressure there. Some pretty smart women in the room and I had to think of something on the fly. Determination, passion, risk tolerance. All options but those words weren’t doing it for me. When my turn came I blurted out, curiosity.
I’m really not sure where that came from. But as soon as I said it I knew it was true.
Being curious matters everywhere, all the time. You have to believe that every successful innovator at their core, is curious. Curiosity killed the cat? I think not.
- Learn more about others because they ask questions
- Find new solutions because they wonder what might work
- Communicate more effectively because they don’t assume
- Read more, because books are the pathways to people and places they may never experience in real life
- Find out how things work because they simply want to know
- Develop new products because they’ve probed to find out what’s needed
- Understand people better because they want to know what makes them tick
- Are more interesting to other people because being interested in others makes you interesting
It’s an outdated way of parenting now, but when I was little it was frowned upon to ask too many questions. I supposed it could have seemed like grilling someone or being nosy instead of genuine wonder. If you grew up that way, too, start making up for lost time.
Can you think of an instance when you could be more curious and how that might work to your advantage?