Wake up. Check your phone for messages and social news. Brush teeth. Shower. Make coffee. Have breakfast. Go to work. Check emails. Do tasks. Go to lunch. Check texts. More email. More tasks. Go home. Maybe exercise. Make dinner. Watch TV. Go to sleep. Start over again.

Each and every day we have a choice: stick to our routines or break the mundane.

No doubt, some amount of routine can be healthy - it makes us feel organized, reduces risks, and lowers stress. But it can also prohibit growth. Thoughts can become myopic and minds can grow accustomed to mediocrity. Unless we make the choice to create an extraordinary routine, or a sort of anti-routine.

In October 2016, I gave a talk at Michigan State University’s Innovate State Series and discussed the importance of challenging ourselves in our personal journeys to innovate in every day. (Catch the playback here.) As we embark on 2017, it’s a great time to renew commitments to everyday innovation.

We control whether we live to our fullest potential. Amazing things can happen when we put ourselves out there and open ourselves up to what is possible. According to Psychology Today, “Every time you try something new, allow yourself to be open to whatever experience arises, you are learning, and expanding your repertoire of life skills and self-knowledge.” (Dr. Brenner, 2015) This type of knowledge feeds innovation. A personal challenge and exercise to help achieve innovation in everyday that I use is called CAMPS™. The acronym stands for Connectivity, Action, Moving the Pieces, Partnerships, and Self-Improvement.

CONNECTIVITY means communicating, putting yourself out there, connecting with others. And not just regular friends or family, but extended and new friends or associates. Whether it’s sending a text message, a note through LinkedIn, or picking up the phone – make a connection. Check in. Touch base. You never know how you might be able to help someone or perhaps partner together to achieve something incredible.

With ACTION, be deliberate and random. Do things that may be out of your comfort zone – things that may feel random or awkward. Rather than watch a movie Friday night, go to a charity dinner. Volunteer. Attend a conference. Run a race. Whatever deliberate, random action you choose to do will propel you forward in a new and different way. It’s in this place that great innovation can happen.

MOVING THE PIECES is equivalent to ‘delegating meets chess’ but on a bigger and more strategic scale to help create action and think ahead. For example, if you are interested in real estate investing, you could spend countless hours researching. However, if you utilize your accountant, mortgage broker, realtor, and financial advisor to alert you of news and trends in industries and areas you are interested in, it saves time and shifts you toward strategy, innovative thinking, and action. Consider what things in your life you can shift to be more strategic and spur action.

Pursue unique PARTNERSHIPS and smart alliances that make sense for you and your business. Look for partnerships that align with your personal passions. Seek alliances that come from a place of authenticity to solve a problem or fill a need.  

And always, always seek ways of SELF-IMPROVEMENT. Take classes, get a certification, read. There are new discoveries every day, push for a better you. In the words of Louis Pasteur, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” Education, awareness, and self-improvement are strong assets for innovation.

Try CAMPS™. Check in with a loved one or a business partner once per month to make sure you are doing it. Accomplish a set number of these items each day or week and you will find the path to innovation in every day, within your career and beyond.