Look Back to Look Forward

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Many years ago, I sought the advice of a career counseling company. I had been a full-time employee in the business world, working in technology. At that time, I was looking for another job with a large company in the same field. My career coach suggested that I attend a workshop for entrepreneurship. I was exploring different things and I thought, “Why not?”  

The facilitator of that workshop said something to me that had a great impact on me. He said,

“Don’t look for the same type of work that you’ve been doing just because you are good at it and you know how to do it. Open up your possibilities and a different perspective, and take a look at what you may never have looked at before. Don’t let the ‘I don’t know how’ stop you from just looking.”   

These were the words that had me examine my future through a different lens. This was the permission I needed to look in a different direction. I opened up to a different perspective and I started to get in touch with my “Why”. My purpose. I looked back to look forward.  

One of the things I loved most about all my leadership positions inside organizations was developing my teams, as individuals and as teams, focusing on results together and integrating our whole selves into our work. Looking at my ‘why’. Looking at my wanting to support and encourage leaders to focus on their impact and strengths and building great teams helped me land on my current work as an executive and leadership coach in my own successful business for almost fifteen years.  

I did not worry about the “how” (how will I do this) until I fully understood my “why.” Then the “how” wasn’t so overwhelming. 

My comfort zone was I did this work before and I know I can do it. I had to leave that comfort zone to find my calling and do this work that brings me joy.  

Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” I say “Unexamined comfort zone creates a life not worth living.” The thing about Comfort Zones is that they need to be examined frequently. Unexamined Comfort Zones—namely, those routines and habits that keep us in a “business as usual” mode—can run our lives. 

We need to take a good look at our Comfort Zones to determine whether they are running us or we are running them. A Comfort Zone that no longer supports us or who we want to be fuels our inertia. If it is moving us toward apathy, decay, or chronic ambivalence, it is time to leave it and move on. Turn off the TV. Turn off the laptop. Pick up the phone. Ask for help. We need to leave our Comfort Zones for the sake of feeding what it is we Hunger for.  

What’s a comfort zone you need to leave? 

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