Curiosity is an overlooked skill, but it is vital to opening doors to new opportunities and experiences in anyone’s career. I took on a new role this year as Head of Social Marketing at Yahoo, a move I credit to maintaining my curiosity throughout the course of my career. Granted, being curious can be uncomfortable, but it is an essential driver for you and others around you. Not only does it allow for exploration of one’s personal growth, but it also facilitates building of relationships across a variety of roles.
So what is it to be curious? It is the desire to learn more, to be inquisitive about something or someone, and to empower oneself with asking questions. Here are five tips that can help you add curiosity to your daily practice.
1. Look outside of your current role or industry
Look around and see what your colleagues are working on. Ask them about their role and their current projects. Sometimes you can find ways to work with new groups and foster new relationships. It’s also good to look outside your industry. Bringing in new ways to solve challenges in your current role can spark creativity for you and your team, and can oftentimes lead you to the next step in your professional journey.
2. Creative thinking can drive critical thinking
Critical thinking doesn’t only mean attending data-driven seminars or reading books in your field. It can also be attained through creative thinking, such as attending music concerts, listening to podcasts, making puzzles and even coloring books. When you can observe or create something, you get an added perspective that can inform how you deal with projects, either personal or professional. After all, problem solving has many angles, which data can’t always solve.
3. Immerse yourself in something you are passionate about
Dive into something you are passionate about and become an expert – as a former curator and content manager for Flickr, I was able to blend my love of art with photography, and in doing so I was able to discover the work of so many passionate photographers, to share with the whole world. Think of yourself as a forensic detective in your subject and create a blog or social channel to share updates – you never know who might be watching!
4. Get to know someone new
Getting to know someone new not only enriches your life, but it can lead to new opportunities. Before I took on my new role, I was able to discuss different opportunities with colleagues in different departments. I also made it a point to chat with people who would compose my new team. The insights I received were invaluable, because these were trusted sources. Having a wide network fosters support and creates confidence in your daily life. In addition, learning what others do gives you a first-hand view to a multitude of workflows, alternative ways of looking at things, and empathy for others.
5. Don’t expect to get all the answers
The best part of being curious is that you may never get all your answers. It’s about your personal growth along the journey that comes with asking questions. Tapping into the practice of being curious will create more meaningful engagements and provide opportunities, one question at a time.