Do you consider yourself to be a pioneer in life and believe that your life is about being the "leading edge"? Do you consider yourself to be among the first on an untrodden path? Are you in love with new ideas, practices, technologies, healing modalities, and a plethora of ways to make the world a better place? Do you constantly find yourself curious, inventive, and creative? These are all characteristics of a pioneer.
Being a pioneer is a very exciting stance to take, but by its nature, it can also feel isolating and unsupported. What are some ways to be a pioneer--and stay connected to nurturing relationships?
1.) Historically, there does seem to be a connection between genius, single minded focus, and breakthrough pioneering achievements. Thomas Edison, Madame Curie, Bill Gates are perfect examples of this phenomenon. Single minded focus alone can be quite trying to relationships.
Around the clock work in pursuit of pioneering work leaves little or no time or energy for relationships. This is an awareness that can serve your best interests. It may require you to develop some techniques that provide time and space for relationships. An example might be keeping "office hours" and connecting with humans during free time. Another idea might be making "family time" on a regular and predictable basis. You can't expect someone to "be there" for you if you aren't making a point of being there for them.
2.) A mastermind is a great way to connect with others and mutually support pioneering effort. Napoleon Hill in "Think and Grow Rich" talks of the Mastermind concept. One of my favorite parts of the book is where he describes the association of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Luther Burbank, Harvey Firestone and John Burrough as a mastermind and that this association surely contributed greatly to the exceptional success of each of them. Find you peer masterminds.
3.) However, there can be a tendency among pioneers to be idealistic and naive. Some examples would be things like Jonestown followers, American émigrés to the Soviet Union in the 30's. All these types get quite fixated on what initially seems a high minded and idealistic philosophy that devolves into despotism. Think for yourself and don't give up autonomy. Don't look for gurus.
4.) Single minded focus is a technique that is excellent at producing results. It's a rare commodity today when many distractions claim "brain share". You've got e-mail, text messages, cell phones, PDA's, computer games, Internet surfing, reality shows. The list is endless--and technologies are addictive. The fear of "missing out" runs us.
Take a look at all the ways you multi-task and experiment with letting go of some of them--and their demands. Do you really want all those gadgets and the people "communicating" through them--to run your life--because that is what is happening.
5.) Look at all the possible ways you can free up time. Can you telecommute? Can you give up most TV programs? Can you be more efficient in shopping by doing it all on one day? Can you get a virtual assistant to do some things for you? Can you only check e-mails 2-3 times a day? Can you let the phone take messages and do callbacks all at one time? With some foresight and better planning, you can increase your focused time greatly.
6.) Make a plan. Write it down. Written plans are the basis of all great accomplishments. Knowing all the small action steps and putting them into a general timeline frees up brain power from trying to keep that all in order. This component is mentioned in every single success book you will ever read. It is the basis of all great success.
7.) Persistence is probably the single most important trait of a successful pioneer. Inevitably, there will be setbacks, challenges, discouragement, missteps, disappointments, and times when giving up seem the only reasonable option. Pioneers, by nature, are not reasonable in this respect. Though logic may rule in every other way, here the illogic of persistence is the deciding factor between success and giving up.
Pioneers, by definition have a tendency to go it alone. Bucking conventional thinking and behaviors can definitely have an isolating effect. Aligning yourself with other pioneers--without giving up autonomy--is a critical factor in amping up your own creativity. Making time for fulfilling relationships will enrich your life and your work. Eliminating distraction and minimizing multi-tasking increases your focused effort. Planning and above all else, persistence, will bring your pioneering work to fruition.