If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that I need to scare myself more often.
I had a grand plan at the start of 2016 to get out of my comfort zone and try things that scare me to become a more well-rounded professional and person.
I chose two areas in particular:
- Public Speaking: Taking every opportunity I could to speak in public. Whether it be a full-blown presentation at Dress for Success San Francisco, sharing my Salesforce experience with a group of new hires, or introducing speakers at Young Professionals of San Francisco (YPOSF) events. After a year of speaking to large groups at least one a month, I became more comfortable at the front of a room and it wasn’t scary anymore.
- Getting More Technical: Tackling my fear of owning a more technical role on my team, like managing live demonstrations at Salesforce events. This entails learning and speaking in technical terms, managing the execution of demos and creating best practice documentation. The first time I did it on my own, it was a disaster. By my eighth show, I could do it in my sleep.
In both instances, I started out feeling insecure and scared, but also determined to succeed. Now as I type this today, I can honestly say I feel confident and accomplished in both areas.
Now comes the hard part; finding new things that scare me.
That alone is scary because it’s hard to step away from the things you feel confident doing and focus your energy on learning something new. But if you don’t, you’ll probably never find out what you’re really made of.
Looking back, this was my one big mistake.
I didn’t find new fears once the old ones stopped being scary. I got use to the feeling of coasting by and not really working too hard to succeed. As a result, I stunted my growth.
If I would have pushed myself just a little bit harder this year, I’d be a lot further along. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come a long way, but there are always more fears to face, lessons to learn and opportunities to grow.
My message is this; don’t get too comfortable doing any one thing. Continue to do what you’re good at, but also constantly be on the hunt for things that scare you and help you become even better.
In the words of Nasty Gal Founder Sophia Amoruso, “Life is Short. Don’t be Lazy.”