Until recently, I hadn’t thought about how stepping out of my “comfort zone” in my career would benefit me — after all, who really wants to be uncomfortable while they’re working? But in our annual Farland Group kickoff meeting in January, our president Jane Hiscock encouraged us to take the opportunity and step out of our comfort zones at some point during the year.
Fast forward a couple of months later to when I attended the “Women’s Leadership Forum” hosted by The Ad Club. While each of the speakers came from different backgrounds — a musician, a politician, a filmmaker, a speechwriter, a comedian — nearly all of them had the same message: step out of the safety of your comfort zone. These women credited parts of their success to being uncomfortable; learning and growing by saying “yes” to opportunities, even when they weren’t quite sure how to accomplish them.
I’m not a fan of networking events, but I stepped out of my comfort zone by attending that forum. I met some really interesting people and learned how they succeeded, as well as the risks they took along the way. Networking is not as big and scary as it sounds, something I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t accepted the invitation to attend.
I’ve thought a lot about the parallels of my uncomfortable experience and our work at Farland Group too, and a conversation with a client recently brought this to light. They explained that when you’re authentic, open and honest with your customers, you’ll receive open and honest feedback. You may not like the advice because the truth can be hard to consume, and it may make you uncomfortable, but people are more inclined to engage in dialogue that is full of truth. Duly noted. Why sugarcoat something? If being genuine and transparent with your customers can help you strengthen the relationship, you’ll likely be a stronger vendor.
We could all take a risk of doing something we don’t want to do. Because really, we all have successes to gain, so why not try?