It’s Time You Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
Before I started designing web and mobile applications, I was a proud and seasoned salesperson. You could find me going from door to door, selling home security services, or, I would be tucked behind my desk in the comfort of my ergonomic office chair, selling educational packages to CPAs across the country. One thing I was taught quickly as a salesperson is that it is extremely important to develop a niche and build your reputation around that. For instance, my father, a commercial lines insurance agent, has developed a niche selling to churches and religious organizations. And it works for him. So much so that it has essentially carried him through to retirement. But I hate niches. They’re over-rated and harmful to one’s growth, and they can hold you back from discovering your true path. But it’s not just niches I despise, it’s finding comfort in tradition.
Working as a Project Manager here at Sourcetoad, it’s important to note that systems and methodologies are extremely important in keeping projects moving forward and ensuring everything runs as smoothly as possible. But there’s something to be said for venturing outside of your beaten path or preferred coziness. As a matter of fact, it can be assumed that once you become comfortable with something, it’s probably time to change. When you do, you’ll find that learning becomes a way of life rather than an obligation; discovery becomes something you desire rather than a treat.
When I began my career here at Sourcetoad, I started as a design intern. I had a goal of becoming a full-time front-end developer. But things changed quickly, as they often do in an agile web development environment. And I’m glad they did. Over the last year and half, I’ve changed hats several times, and am currently a project manager here at Sourcetoad. But that didn’t happen by staying comfortable. If I had, I probably wouldn’t still be here. Instead of sticking to my personal goals, I was able to change courses several times here, and I have discovered that project management is a passion of mine. Even when I started as a project manager, I was encouraged to discover my own path, find better solutions than those that were taught to me, and develop my own way of doing things. It just so happens that my own way of doing things is quite non-traditional.
The point I’m trying to make here is that it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. One thing I struggled with for the longest time was public speaking. But working at Sourcetoad, one of our most recent internal initiatives is Monthly Project Pitches. Essentially, we get up in front of our co-workers and present a project we’re working on — either at Sourcetoad or outside of Sourcetoad — and then ask for feedback from the crowd. I was the first employee ever to present a project to my fellow co-workers, and although I was shaking inside, I was able to step out of my comfort zone and realized that it wasn’t all that bad after all.
The bottom line here is that if you’re comfortable in whatever you’re doing, it’s time to change. That goes for both personal and professional goals. When you step out of your comfort zone, something amazing starts to happen: You view the world in a whole new way, and you become a stronger person. What made me uncomfortable in the past is something I yearn for now. And although the nerves never really go away when you do something new — and why should they, there’s always a “risk” involved with stepping out — I can honestly say with certainty that I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t.