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“Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You”

Posted                                  | 2 Comment(s)                       |  by Amy Kosh

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I came across this quote years ago and have quietly adopted it as my mantra. I try my best to stick to it and keep it in mind when faced with something particularly challenging.

As a career consultant, I routinely encourage and “nudge” candidates to step outside of their comfort zones and engage in activities they find scary, uncomfortable, and challenging. I present it as a growth opportunity and a necessary step in their personal and professional development. However, I have found that as career consultants, we freely give this advice from the comfort of our desks in a role in which we feel extremely comfortable. 

Earlier this year, I was offered the opportunity to travel to Moscow to train a group of employees to become Career Transition Consultants. Although I was terrified at the prospect, I was also excited, and I knew that the answer was never going to be “no.” If I did not take this leap, I wouldn’t grow and evolve, both personally and professionally.

In preparation for my trip, and upon my arrival, I found myself outside of my comfort zone for the first time in a very long time. I traveled alone, could not speak the language, could not read the Cyrillic alphabet (EVERYTHING in Moscow is written in Cyrillic!) and had never conducted this type of training before. Although I have been in this industry for quite some time, I still feel like a “newcomer” as a consultant. And although I have conducted many seminars within the walls of Career Partners International, this was something entirely new, and the unfamiliarity of my environment and stretch of my skill set was very stressful.

After spending a week in my new environment, I learned something about being in this space: it can be scary and disorienting. But I learned something else, too: by the end of my week’s stay I had started to adjust to the new environment. I was taking the metro alone, enjoying my new commute, exploring the city on my own, conducting successful training sessions and making new friends.

Perhaps the most important thing that I learned from my trip is this: it is so easy to avoid risks and stick with what feels “safe.” It is comfortable and familiar, keeps anxiety at a minimum and causes less stress. This makes leaving the comfort zone, into discomfort, a very scary process.

Forcing myself to step outside of my own comfort zone gave me a new level of appreciation for what my career transition candidates go through every single day. My trip was a priceless reminder of how easy it is to stay safe and keep doing what “we do,” instead of taking risks and being uncomfortable. While it is easier to stay within our normal routines, it is also stagnant and – dare I say – boring. It is the risks we take and the discomfort in which we put ourselves that truly allow us to grow, thrive and be successful.

What have you done recently that forced you to step outside of your comfort zone?

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