Will Fraidy Cat Ever Leave Her Comfort Zone?

I am a “Fraidy Cat.”  This is not new news, but it has been coming up more and more as I try to take  action to be my best, most fulfilled self.  This week I had two career development discussions and “not wanting to leave my comfort zone” was the key theme of both of them.

During one of these discussions, I found myself saying that someday, I might like to run my own non-profit or start my own school.  Talk about going outside of your comfort zone! I have absolutely no idea how to do either of these things, but to find out if these are things I really want to do and to get anywhere near achieving them, there are some skills I need to work on.

  1. I have to get better at taking risks and doing things that scare the bejesus out of me and/or that I am not that good at.  I was reminded this week that this is how you grow.  It was also suggested by my colleague that I should practice this  in a big company where the stakes are low and I am unlikely to be fired if I fail.  I am not that crazy about my current tasks anyway, so what do I have to lose?
  2. I was introduced this week to the term “Executive Presence.”  My boss loves this term.  Although I don’t want to be a corporate executive, if I want anyone to give me a chance to do anything different or I want to actually run anything that is important to me, I need to work on some of these skills. I need to be able to sell myself and clearly articulate what I want (or articulate the goals of my organization).  I need take the initiative to expand my network and meet new people who I can learn from and who can help me achieve my goals.  I need to appear more confident. I started working on these skills in business school, but since I hate doing things that scare me or that I am not that good at, I mostly avoid situations where these skills are required.

I have gotten quite far by maximizing the strengths that I have.  I have worked hard and taken some calculated risks and I have been lucky enough to fall in to many things.  But I think the buck stops here.  I have gone as far as I can go without really busting out and taking it to the next level.

So the big learning this week was that my job is a great opportunity for me to gain the skills I can apply to a completely different job or to other areas in my life! I have never really thought about it that way before.  And I clearly have the support of my team who are actually pushing me to take on more.  I am the one holding myself back.  I know I have it in me.  So much benefit to be gained if I can just DO the scary stuff.  Not just blog about it, but do it.

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