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Stepping into the Unknown

“Plan to step into the unknown because that is where life’s growth hormones are stored!”

I am a great believer in setting clear goals for our lives. Goals that will make us better people and improve our knowledge and skills; but sometimes even goal setting can become monotonous and mundane. So I want to take you to the next level of goal setting and it is called ‘stepping into the unknown’.

I think what is missing in many organisations and in the attitude and behaviour of many leaders, is that wonderful spirit of discovery; that desire not just to achieve targets and goals, but to enjoy the journey, have some fun and discover new and exciting ways to achieve even better results.

Playing it safe is very noble, but how do we grow or achieve greatness unless we are prepared to step into the unknown.

For many years now, I have been helping people to become GREAT leaders because I believe that every person has the ability to be a GREAT leader if they are open to changing the way they think and are prepared to challenge their conditioning.

Similarly, I also believe that every person can become an entrepreneur if they really want to, but to do so will require that they learn the principles of ‘stepping into the unknown’ and then do it often.

For so long we have been told that the title of ‘entrepreneur’ is only for a select few. Those few that step off the cliff and do something most people would choose not to do. To a certain extent that is true, but everything is relative. What is small for one person is enormous for someone else and it is all about expanding our belief and trust in our own abilities.

You see, we can actually practise becoming an entrepreneur and we can do it on a daily basis. In fact, most people already do it, but either don’t know they are, or are so anxious at the time that they miss the entrepreneurial moment.

So what would happen if we introduced activities into our lives on a daily basis that ensured we would continue to grow and also foster our spirit of discovery?

I know the thought of planning the unknown seems like a paradox, but we only know what we know and we don’t know what we don’t know, so when we make plans we must be prepared to allow them to take us on a journey of discovery.

When we take a step towards something, the doors will open to where we should be heading.

How exciting that we have the opportunity to live our lives and run our businesses this way. How sad it would be if we missed those opportunities!

Did you know that if we actually achieve the annual business plans that we set, then in a way we have failed? Because if we are open to the unknown, then our known destination point when we created the plan will look very different when we actually arrive.

So what is the difference between setting goals and stepping into the unknown?

Setting goals is what we want to achieve, where stepping into the unknown is how we will achieve it.

So let’s take an activity that you do every day, like driving to work. What if one day each week you simply drove home a different way? What is the worst thing that could happen? You might get lost the first time, or the trip might even take a little longer. Let’s flip those thoughts and look at the benefits. You might discover a better way to travel each day. You would see different scenery, you may find new cafes and shops, see a house for sale that you would like to buy etc, etc.

Doing the same things every day becomes mundane and does not foster a spirit of discovery.

If you walk every night after work, plan to take a different route and see something new. If you travel, go to places you have never visited before. Learn a new language. Volunteer to step into areas in your workplace that will take you way outside of your comfort zone. Plan to experience a new restaurant every month. It doesn’t matter what it is, what does matter is that you are open to where it might take you and that you have your discovery eyes open.

As small as these things might seem, stepping into the unknown on a daily basis helps build entrepreneurial skills into your life that will gradually grow and allow you to then step into the bigger adventures. But an even greater benefit is the fun that it brings back into your life as you discover new experiences every day.

So here is my four week challenge:

On a piece of paper, or on your calendar, enter the small change you will make each day and then enter the new experiences you have over that four week period. You will be amazed at not only how much you grow and how much fun it is, but how your spirit of discovery in all areas of your life will be re-ignited, preparing you for the bigger opportunities you don’t even know about yet.

Stepping into the unknown on a daily basis ensures that you will never get bored, the only downside is that you might outgrow others around you.

So share your experiences and then teach others how to also reignite their spirit of discovery.


Des Penny


Proteus Leadership is one of Australia’s premier leadership training and development companies. Proteus Leadership provides leadership courses and management training to a range of industries and assists organisations to build positive workplace cultures, implement change and Create Great Leaders. Proteus also facilitates a range of world-class management courses, workshops, conferences and events across Australia and beyond with the sole purpose of bringing leaders together to connect and grow.

“Our core purpose is to Create Great Leaders that will in turn build Great companies and develop Great teams.”

2 responses to “Stepping into the Unknown”

  1. Jo says:

    I always thought that I stepped into the unknown on a daily basis. Until I realised that I just labelled my mundane and ‘safe’ as different and ‘outside the square’ . In that very act I had created an illusion, a safety blanket of lies that comforted and protected me against the thought that I was normal. A terrible concept in my opinion and the shock and horror I felt when I finally gained perspective of my ‘truth’ was world rocking. I realised I wasn’t living the exceptional life I thought I had created. I was playing it safe, by the rules and (gasp!) I had become -or always was – a people pleaser! a passive observer and an excuse weaver. I was average. Or at least my actions were.
    So now, with my eyes wide open I strive to stretch and grow. To bend and twist and to sometimes just sit still. To mix it up and say “what the hell – why not! To do things a different way to just see what could happen. And whatever I do, I now do it with my eyes and heart wide open looking for opportunities to learn and my hands outstretched ready to grab hold of all that Life has to offer.

    • Des Penny says:

      Hi Jo what an awesome comment. It sounds like you have had a real awakening and that is brilliant. You are right, sometimes we classify our normal as ‘out there’ when in fact it is just the foundation to build something greater. Well done Jo, I hope you have some amazing adventures ahead.

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