By Dean Houdeshell, PE, CFPAI/AJPP, CFPE, CFPS, CFPIHT, CFPMHT, CFPMHM, Cemen Tech Inc.
What would be your answer if you were asked: “Do you want to grow?” For most, if not all of us, I’ll bet the answer would be a resounding “Yes!” Yet many times, we choose to stay in our comfort zone because of fear. Most of us have been taught to live in our comfort zone, but if we are going to grow, we need to make some changes and stretch ourselves beyond where we are today.
My son, who recently turned 16, stepped out of his comfort zone as he started looking for his first job. He struggled through the first interview and in his own words, “The interviewer really didn’t pay attention to my answers to his questions.” I reassured him that, if this was the case, he probably wouldn’t want to work there anyway. When submitting his application at the second company, he was told it would be turned in, but he probably wouldn’t get the job anyway. Shocking, right! Again, I counseled him that this was not a good place for him to work either. Finally, after applying at a local employee-owned grocery store, he landed an interview.
A few days prior to the interview, I asked him two very important questions, “Why do you want to work for this company?” and “What do you know about this company?” I got a typical 16-year-old response, “I don’t know.” So I coached him on these two questions and asked him to do a little research. As he began the interview, he was nervous. But when the interviewer asked him these exact questions, the nervousness melted away and he gave an answer I’m sure the interviewer had never before heard from a shy, 16-year-old young man. After getting rejected by the first two companies, my son stretched himself a little bit and it made all the difference. He got a call the next day with the offer to start work at the grocery store. Why? Because he stepped out of his comfort zone, did his homework, and stood out in the crowd.
Many people finish high school or college and look forward to never having to crack open another book or take another class. When I graduated from college, the euphoria set in that I would no longer have to enroll in classes or take tests ever again. Reality has proven me wrong and I’m glad it did. I never would have grown as much and gone as far without having stepped out of my comfort zone.
Growth is essential if you want to get from where you are today to the place you want to be tomorrow. Stepping outside our comfort zone is never easy, but the rewards are countless. What you do over the next 30, 60, or 90 days could make a difference in your next job, your next promotion, or your next sale. So what’s it going to be?