Do you want to innovate and grow as an event professional? Do you want to plan better events? If so, it’s time to get uncomfortable.
The magic begins where your comfort zone ends.
Growth never occurs within your comfort zone.
Have you seen these quotes making their way on the internet as inspirational image memes? While it’s easy to write them off as new-age, feel-good sentiment, there’s a lot to be said for them. Innovation is anything but comfortable so if you want to excel as an event planner it might just be time to get uncomfortable.
But how exactly does one get “uncomfortable” to the benefit of one’s career? You do so strategically. Here’s how.
Moving Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Know What That Looks Like
Often our habits are so ingrained in us that we don’t recognize them as habits or self-defeating actions. We believe that they are protocols and plans. Ditch those that no longer serve you and your goals. For instance, were you raised to be a child who was seen and not heard and so you still struggle to find your voice when someone really pushy offers an idea that differs from your own? If so, it’s time to speak up… especially if it makes you uncomfortable to do so.
Select self-limiting behaviors and brainstorm ways in which you can push yourself past them. Target the ones that seem to hold you back first. You probably are aware of what those are but if not, bounce a few ideas off of a friend who knows you well.
Understand the Struggle
If you are truly selecting something that will take you out of your comfort zone, it’s going to get ugly and uncomfortable. It may feel like having sand in your shorts. You will be filled with doubt and wonder why you ever decided to do something so foolhardy. Plan for these feelings so that you can recognize them when you get there and greet them like an old friend.
Know that this discomfort, like sand in your shorts, is only temporary. If you work hard enough you will succeed and the feelings of doubt and insecurity will pass or you will fail miserably and achieve one of the best learning experiences of your career.
Make the Commitment
If you remember the television show Fear Factor, which had contestants perform acts that made most of us turn from the television screen, you’ll also remember the people who came in second. These poor people often accepted the same challenges as the winner but they didn’t do it fast enough or with as much dedication. But they still ate the worms or the hissing cockroaches – just not enough of them to win.
If you’re going to do the hard work to step out of your comfort zone, do it with vim and vigor. Have a goal or purpose that motivates you to keep you strong because growth is always uncomfortable. If it’s not, you’re not doing it right. Make the commitment to do it fully. Halfway just gets you a mouth full of worms for no reason.
Look for the Point of No Return
When you are successfully navigating outside of your comfort zone it will feel much like being on a roller coaster. You’ll have a few minor ups and downs and you may even start thinking, “This isn’t so bad.” But then just as you’re making real progress towards doing something completely new in your life, you’ll experience that feeling of trepidation when you realize the hill you’re traversing is different than the minor ones before it.
Just as on that roller coaster, your senses will be heightened. You’re strapped in and wondering if you could just ask that nice ride conductor at the top of the hill if he could let you off. And that feeling of wanting to be anywhere else than where you are on that roller coaster is central to your growth as an event planner. You just need to stay buckled in.
Unlike on a roller coaster, most people get out at this point. Everything slows before you pick up that great momentum with the wind blowing through your hair. Once you make it over the peak, it’s an enjoyable ride but mounting that hill causes many to get off. Don’t be that person. Ride through that point of no return with the same joyous expectation you would on a roller coaster.
Stop Looking Around
You are on your own personal journey of growth. Stop watching the rides your friends are on and comparing theirs to yours. When you spend too much time looking at others, you’ll want to be where they are. This is your growth, not theirs. Looking around will only derail your progress because you will be thinking you need to switch courses, that yours is not satisfactory. Stick to it and push through.
Surround Yourself with Other Ride Goers
Well, that sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? I just advised to stop watching your friends and then surround yourself with others. What the ? But there is a vast difference. By friends, I’m referring to your close personal connections who are likely in different businesses and on different journeys. By “other ride goers” I’m stating you need to surround yourself with people who are going through the same desire to “unplug from the Matrix” professionally. These are people who were unsatisfied with the course their lives were taking and so decided to step outside of the comfort zone and discover more for themselves.
You are doing something completely different from a large percentage of the population right now. You’re challenging mediocrity in order to grow. There may be people who don’t follow you on that journey and that’s okay. This path is for you and just as you have a choice on whether to take it or not, some people cannot and will not follow. They don’t have it in them. So hand-select people who do, so that you have a peer group to connect with. Self-betterment can be a lonely trail but it doesn’t have to be.