Comfort and Learning are not best of friends

comfortIndeed, learning happens only once we step out of our comfort zone.

I still remember the day I stepped on a podium, for the first time, to present to 500+ audience. I was scared and worried that I would stutter; or worse still completely forget what I had to say. I practiced and practiced, but the butterflies in my stomach refused to go.

The first large project that I handled was a nightmare! I had never worked on a project of that scale and scope. It had multiple stakeholders with conflicting priorities. To top it, I was working with a freshly minted team. The next 12 months were a roller-coaster ride, the project seemed an untameable beast! But, I managed to deliver to reasonable satisfaction of the client.

Few years back, I was in-charge of driving a critical project on culture. Again, I stepped into an unknown terrain. Things were fuzzy at the beginning, but clarity emerged with passing time.

When I reflect, most of my learning happened only when I stepped out of my comfort zone. However, it’s never easy to step out of comfy shore and step into rough waters. Few things that helped me over years:

  1. Conquer the fear of failure – be ready to trip and fall. Make mistakes early on, but learn from them quickly
  2. Accept ignorance, ask questions and seek support shamelessly
  3. Break the problem into smaller pieces – making it seem manageable and easier to handle, while allowing to stay focused on larger picture.
  4. Belief in self that you can do it. You have done it before, and you will do it again!
  5. Surround yourself with optimists, positive energy is akin to sunshine for plants.

“If we are growing, we are always going to be out of our comfort zone.”

                                                                                          John Maxwell

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