Think back on your career. What are the experiences that brought on the most personal growth, or are most fulfilling to look back upon? I’m going to take a wild guess and say that the day-to-day tasks and projects that you handle with your eyes closed are not on your list. I’ll bet that the most memorable and transformative experiences came when someone or something pushed back and caused a great deal of anxiety and discomfort before you rose to the occasion. By in large, the most transformational situations happen when you are thrown outside your comfort zone, out of your natural element. Like it or not, this uncomfortable space is where you want to live, Creative Executive.
If you can, for a second, channel your inner physicist and think of Isaac Newton’s laws of motion. The gist of Newton’s hypothesis was this: an object will remain at rest or continue at its current velocity until force is applied by an external source. When an external force is applied, said object will rise to exhibit a force equal to oppose the external force.
In less scientific terms, when other creative forces come into our atmosphere, we are forced to get uncomfortable, ask some tough questions, drill down to what, who, and why we are. Only then can we find it in ourselves to meet said challenge head on.
But, you don’t want to just passively stand by waiting for external forces to spark you into action. You must take an active role in seeking out and participating in situations that are new, less than ideal, uncomfortable, exhilarating, and yes, sometimes, scary. Seek out those experiences that make you sweat, make your heart race, make you think on your feet. This is how you become, and remain, a player in “the game.”
But, I’m not talking about becoming an adrenaline junkie who walks the tightrope on your lunch break. There are many ways in your personal and professional lives to change things up so that you are forced to confront who you are and what you are in the face of new and different experiences. Here are some ideas on how to inject some good ole fashioned ‘newness’ into your every day.
In a recent piece for Forbes on this topic, career coach, Kathy Caprino, interviewed Walmart’s Director of International Human Resources Strategy and Operations, David Van Rooy. In this interview, Van Rooy spoke about the danger of being comfortable, saying, “If you never feel uncomfortable in your life and career you are undoubtedly limiting your opportunities to do greater things than you might never have imagined.”
I love this quote. Fear is a nasty inhibitor and it limits the opportunities you allow yourself the ability to conquer. Perhaps the greatest risk for creatives is the apathy that rears its head when you travel down the path of least resistance.
To achieve your full potential, you will have to overcome that fear and step out of your comfort zone and into new possibilities for yourself.
We’re here to help you along that beautiful, uncomfortable road.