Don’t be Afraid to Experiment

Last month I started the ball rolling on a concept of “Making Success a Habit”.  Today, I wanted to highlight one of keys to success; at least in my eyes.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “All life is an experiment.  The more experiments you make that better.”  That is exactly what I was hoping to write about – not being afraid to experiment with things and work outside of your comfort zone.

As I type this, I am currently experimenting with new things – just like many of you struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are working remotely each and every day, and that has been a new experience for me.  We are not supposed to cluster in groups and have to stand 6′ apart from others, and this is strange sometimes.  And the gym that I attend shut it doors two weeks ago – so I am trying to get creative and work out here at the house with some lighter weights and an old weight bench.

Change is tough, but we have to embrace it and make the most of it.

(Note:  I certainly do not mean to minimize the concerns surrounding COVID-19.  I pray that you are all safe and healthy.)

From an athletic standpoint, it’s good to experiment.  There are so many good examples of coaches or managers thinking outside the box – I could fill up this whole blog.  But here are just a few of most popular in sports history:

“West Coast Offense” or the “Wildcat” in the NFL

Defensive Shifts and the use of the bullpen in MLB

The “trap” in the NHL

The evolution of the three point shot and dunking in the NBA

At some point in their careers, the athletes and coaches in those sports had to embrace a new concept.  And it worked out pretty well for them.  Why wouldn’t it work for you?

In a business model, companies are always trying to work ahead of the competition.  They are creating things faster in an effort to beat their competitors.  They are also marketing things differently with a creative lens in an effort to stand out.  If Fortune 500 Companies are doing it, why shouldn’t you?

The worse thing that could happen from experimentation is failure.  And if you know me, and how I look at failure, this will not surprise you.  But FAILURE equals GROWTH.  So a little experimentation could make you a stronger coach, athlete, manager, leader or parent.

Don’t be afraid to try!

Chris Hardie is the Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach at Waynesburg University.  You can follow him on Twitter @Coach_Hardie_WU or follow the team on Facebook at Waynesburg University Cross Country.


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