When Do You Realize It’s Time to Expand Your Horizons?

Hawaii horizon

When the pandemic started, I was fine—better than fine—staying home. I felt safe and secure. Mark did the grocery shopping and cooking, and we spent a ton of time together. All good stuff.

I was happy with limited horizons.

However, after I received my first booster, I wanted to go out—and I was still concerned. We still needed to manage risks. So we only went out to eat if we could eat outside. And we didn’t socialize much because we have Beloved Family Members who were either too young for a shot or were in chemo.

I stayed home. A lot. (You might have a different risk calculus, but that was mine.)

Little by little, my horizons got closer and closer. I didn’t realize I needed to go somewhere and do something. And see different people.

I just returned from a 12-day trip to Hawaii. That trip was all vacation and included watching the Hawaii Ironman with my younger daughter. (My son-in-law was the athlete and did very well.)

I learned about volcanoes, coffee, and black sand, among many other details. I saw tons of lava fields. But over those 12 days, I learned something quite important: it was past time to expand my mental and physical horizons.

We might not need to travel quite that far to expand our horizons. But my trip reminded me I needed to be aware of the signals that say, “Hey! You’re limiting your thinking or actions, not questioning or freeing them.”

I didn’t realize I was stale, for lack of a better word. But, now I know my signals.

My Signals When I Need to Expand My Horizons

My big signal is when I check Twitter too often. Or watch too many videos under the guise of “research.” I do not-work activities.

Those not-work activities prevent me from making any forward momentum. Worse, while they might feed the feel-good center, those activities prevent me from becoming interested in creating that momentum.

While I would love to travel and stay in Hawaii when I need to expand my horizons, I have plenty of other alternatives.

Alternatives to Expand My Horizons

Before the pandemic, I traveled a lot. I met new people, saw new-to-me places, and ate new food. All of those experiences expanded my horizons. Now that I’m barely traveling—because my clients benefit more when I don’t—I need alternatives to expand my horizons.

These are the alternatives that fit me. As with all advice, fit these ideas to you and your preferences.

  • Do something physical, even if it’s near you. I take walks in my neighborhood. And now that my neighbors are decorating their houses for Halloween, I’m getting lots of ideas.
  • Read more and of more variety. I’m not recommending television or movies, although that might work for you. I engage my brain differently when I read.
  • Engage with one or two people socially, in real-time. (Social media is not real engagement between a couple of people.) If you’re like me, choose a topic to argue/discuss with someone to examine several ways of seeing situations.

Each of these ideas gets my brain going, which is what I need to expand my horizons.

When do you realize you need to expand your horizons? What do you do? I’m curious. Let me know.

(Yes, I took that picture from a scenic overlook on the highway south to Kona.)


I’m leading a session at the Leading Complexity series of masterclasses: Modern Management: Position Yourself to Take Advantage of Complexity. Yes, it’s about the ideas in the Modern Management books, but you’ll recognize many of the ideas. Use this coupon for a 20% discount: ROTHMANFRIEND20. The sessions start in September.

I filled this quarter’s writing workshop, so I’ll be opening registration for Q1 2023 by the end of this month.

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Till next time,


© 2022 Johanna Rothman

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