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The old way of approaching tasks isn’t always the best way.

Recently, I took a trip abroad. Because I knew I’d be doing a lot of walking, I wore what I thought were my most comfortable shoes—a pair of hiking boots I’ve had since I was seventeen. These boots were tried and tested, and we’ve walked many miles together over the course of many decades. They earned their spot as my default walking shoes. But after walking a few miles, I found myself hobbling. Unexpectedly, my boots painfully bruised my instep. They no longer fit.

Apparently I have changed a lot since I was a teen. To prevent further discomfort, I wore a pair of wedges for the rest of the trip—the only other shoes I had brought along. They were more stylish than my boots, and for this reason I assumed they would be more painful to walk in. Ironically, they were more comfortable—a perfect fit. While I’m familiar with the old adage “If the shoe fits, wear it,” sometimes what fits changes. Something that has fit for decades may not work any longer.

Just because a certain way of doing things worked for while does not mean it’s the best, or only, way to do something, or that it’s still the right one for you or for your workplace. In embracing growth, we recognize that something that once fit may not be the best fit now. 

And who knows? Maybe if we change, we also will be a little more stylish too.