How to Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
Beta Rho, Duke
As you continue to look for ways to move your career forward and get ahead, it’s time to step out of your comfort zone. When I say this, I’m talking about pushing through the things that scare you and taking calculated risks in order to get ahead in your career.
Deciding to invest in yourself is scary. Taking a risk is scary. However, it’s important to remember that nothing we do in life is guaranteed. So, wouldn’t you rather go after something you really want instead of sticking around in a job that brings no fulfillment?
If the answer to that question is yes, then it’s time for you to start getting comfortable in the uncomfortable. For me, this was learning that I’d have to promote myself in order to get ahead. I hate talking about myself to others—I’m an extreme introvert. But I learned to lean into that discomfort and started to approach my fears by setting micro-goals.
Start Small: Set Micro-Goals
Okay, so you’re committing to doing the things that scare you. That’s great! Just making the commitment is a huge step (and sometimes the hardest!). I highly suggest starting your journey off by setting micro-goals. This allows you to dip your toes in the water before fully jumping in. Setting smaller goals that you can achieve will help build your confidence as you move forward in pursuing your career.
Let me give you an example. At the beginning of my career, I found the idea of networking to be absolutely terrifying, so I decided to set three small goals for myself every time I attended an event.
- I will show up.
- I will meet three people. (Then I can high-tail it out of there)
- I will show up just one more time.
I made sure to honor these commitments every time, and it helped me manage my way through my unease with networking. Now, of course, what scares you might be something completely different, and that’s okay. Whatever it is, try setting three micro-goals for yourself to commit to. By setting micro-goals, you can really go all in. Once those are completed, set new goals. It helps get the momentum going and makes the overall big picture less daunting.
If you are new to visualization, hear me out. It might seem a bit new-age or just plain awkward. But that’s exactly what we’re here to do, right? Tackle the things that make us uncomfortable. I challenge you to give visualization a try.
I’ve used visualization throughout my career to accomplish goals both large and small. Once I decide what I want my outcome to be, I sit down and visualize what that future will look like. Visualization, for me, is an excellent way of being goal-oriented and purposeful in the steps I take daily.
Being able to envision yourself in the future you want makes that future feel more tangible. For instance, seeing yourself sitting in the chair of the office you want to work in can help your mind understand that it’s possible. Once your brain accepts this possibility, it helps cut through any of the doubt you may have.
Fight Analysis Paralysis
There were a lot of ways I could have stopped myself from pursuing a career in tech. If I had spent too much time thinking about all of the unanswered questions about my future, I would have been completely paralyzed. I call this analysis paralysis. (You can read more about my journey with it in my best-selling book, The DevelopHer Playbook.)
When you let all the “what-if’s” of the future crowd your thoughts, you basically paralyze your ability to move forward. This kind of thinking only holds you back, and it’s not productive because there’s no way for you to know what opportunities will arise. Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you. There are always going to be so many reasons not to take that first step. Putting yourself out there is scary! But it’s worth it.
For the days when you’re really struggling with your doubts (we all have them), reach out to your Theta sisters on ThetaConnect for a pick-me-up! I’ve always found that having a solid network is essential in feeling confident in myself to get ahead in my career.
It’s vital to build confidence in yourself and understand that pushing through things that scare you will ultimately help you get ahead. Keep in mind that when you take risks, not everything will work out. And that’s okay! When one thing doesn’t work, it means you’re just one step closer to success. Lean into getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and watch as your life transforms into the future you’ve always dreamed of.