“All growth starts at the end of your comfort zone.” – Tony Robbins
I was 26, anxious and driving far out of my comfort zone. My hands were sweaty, I felt sick and I absolutely did not want to go. After landing my first professional job as a Business Development Manager, I was headed to a seminar and networking event. I had never done anything like it and didn’t know what to expect. I was certain I didn’t know anyone that was going to be attending either. I was driving in my Volkswagen Jetta in my brand new suit, trying to think of excuses to tell my boss as to why I didn’t make it. Before I knew it I was in front of the hotel hosting the event and out of ideas as to how I could avoid going. I mustered up the will power and walked into my first networking event. Since then I have attended hundreds of events like this, met thousands of people and have built a rewarding career in sales and business development. But what would my life have looked like if I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone that day?
Recently I watched an episode of Running Wild where the host, Bear Grylis, a trained
survivalist, adventurist and crazy man brought Marshawn Lynch, former Seattle Seahawk running back, into the Corsican Mountains for a two day survival expedition. Marshawn grew up in inner city Oakland, California. He had never hiked, camped or done anything close to what he was in store for. After a two day adventure filled with mountain climbing, catching a wild hog for supper, sleeping under the stars and facing several risky situations the two men reached their destination. They were tired and sore but alive and well. Marshawn joked that he probably should have started his adventure seeking by sleeping in a tent in his back yard but by the end there is no doubt he had grown and become a stronger person.
Reflecting on Marshawn’s journey during the episode Bear said something that rang true with me. He said, “Most people never like to step out of their comfort zone because it makes you look vulnerable, but actually that’s how we grow.” Looking back at my panicked 26 year old self walking into a room full of strangers I now recognize the growth opportunity I was presented with in that moment. If I wouldn’t have mustered up the courage to face my insecurities and step out of my comfort zone I could have missed a great opportunity for myself and career to grow. When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone? Whether it’s prospecting new clients, opening up to others or trying something new, make a concerted effort to push yourself to do the things that are uncomfortable for you. It’s in these moments of leaving your comfort zone that you will be pushed towards growth. Only then will you flourish.