If you follow me on any platform or know me personally, you also know Quadir and what he means to me. I call him Frankie. We have a ton of conversation about business and building a legacy for future generations. Frankie is my husband, my friend, and my children’s father. He is also my business partner and confidant. Therefore, most roads we travel, we travel together or at least get directions from one another.
Frankie and I were talking about a new business venture, weighing the pros and cons. After several minutes of discussion (this wasn’t the first discussion) he said, “Listen, if you are comfortable, let’s go for it”. My reply, “Oh, I’m not exactly comfortable, but I think I am ready to bet on me”. To which he replied, “good, let’s do this”. I went on to reiterate the point that I wasn’t exactly comfortable, to which he again replied, “good, let’s do this”. Had this man lost his entire mind? Did he hear me? I just wanted to talk about it, think about what I needed to do to get prepared, make a list and check it twice, work toward being comfortable, get my ducks in a row. So, I said a third time, “I am not exactly comfortable yet” to which he replied, “Eb, what would you tell one of your clients, one of the ladies on your team?” He was right, I needed to take my own advice. This was not the first discussion, it was clearly something I wanted to do, most of the preparation had already been done and there was only one thing standing in my way – me. I needed to get out of my way, get rid of the doubt, get out of my comfort zone and do it anyway.
That is what I want to encourage you to do today. What is that thing that is on your mind that you really want to go for? Is it applying for that promotion at work that you only have 80% of the qualifications for? Is it finally raising your hand to host the department meeting and show your managers that you are ready for more? Is it volunteering for that stretch project that will require a little more out of you, but you know you will learn from the experience? Is it reaching out to the person you have been wanting to ask to be your mentor? Whatever it is, skip the doubt, do it anyway.
Now I’m not at all suggesting that you run out here all willy nilly doing things with no prayer, no research, preparation, no guidance from trusted advisors, etc. But what I am suggesting is that you have to get out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time, in fact it almost never is. And sometimes, it doesn’t work at all, but you will learn something in the process. You’ve got to stretch to grow, you have to have some level of discomfort to grow.
Did you know that for any muscle in your body to grow it has to be stretched to the point of tearing just a little bit. Then the body works to repair those tiny tears and the muscle becomes bigger and stronger. This is true physically, but it is also true mentally and spiritually. It is true in our professional lives as well. You must stretch professional muscles to the point of discomfort for there to be any growth. You must experience the small tears and repair them to build that muscle. Now, by all means, do your research but don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. It’s been my experience that the most rewarding things in life are the things just outside your comfort zone. The most rewarding things in your career will be just outside your comfort zone.
Are you comfortable? No? Is it just outside your comfort zone? Yes? Maybe that is the sign you should do it anyway. Apply anyway, speak anyway, raise your hand anyway, ask anyway, stretch anyway…do it anyway!
Dr. Ebony Stone