Start each season with an experiment.

Experiments are small, fun, about discovery and great for expanding our thinking. They are not about success or failure, so they don’t carry the weight and expectation that often comes with starting something big.

If we tell someone we are experimenting with a new side business, they are more likely to be curious about what we are learning, or what we hope to get out of it, rather than if we’ll make millions. Although failure is becoming more acceptable in our society, it still carries negative connotations, and fear of it can block us from trying new things.

When using the term experiment, we’re not expected to have all the answers before we start. We’re only expected to learn along the way, resulting in very little pressure. Experiments can be small enough to last only a few hours, such as being a guest in a new book club. Or larger to take a few months, such as doing a freelance consulting job on the side of our regular work.

Depending on what we discover, we could then choose to build on the knowledge we learned from the experiment, and make it part of our daily lives, or not.

Our world is changing fast, so we need to give things a shake, to keep up and discover new possibilities for ourselves.

Take action: Ask yourself “What would happen if I tried…” and fill in the blank with 10 different ideas that you find by looking around, watching other people, or recalling actions you’ve always been drawn to. Picture the possibilities and narrow down your list to a few that you think you’ll enjoy and are feasible. Then start experimenting for the sole purpose of discovery.

Inspired by Sam Walton and John Huey’s book, Sam Walton, Made in America.

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