How getting out of your comfort zone might just be what you need

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How getting out of your comfort zone might just be what you need

When was the last time you went out on a limb and tried out something new for a change? It may be as simple as trying out a new hairstyle, or something possibly life-changing like traveling abroad, but doing something for the first time can be an exhilarating experience.

So why are people so scared to go for careers they really want and would rather stay put at jobs that don’t satisfy them? Yes, change is terrifying but you’ll also never get anywhere if you choose to remain where you are. Go on, it’s time to throw caution to the wind and try out something else for a change.

Take Duncan Niederauer, the former CEO to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for example, who took on an unusual career path. He went from being a restaurant manager in Atlanta to working as a financier in Tokyo before he took on the top post in the NYSE. He is now with an upstart brokerage firm, Scenic Advisement as their as their Non-executive Chairman and Strategic Advisor – again, a bold move for somebody of his stature.

He owes his success to his father who pushed him to become a trailblazer who doesn’t just follow trends or the whims of the crowd. His advice? ‘Don’t be afraid to bet on yourself.’

Sure, life can throw us a curveball every now and then, and it could feel like everything’s out of your control. Disappointments may make you feel like there’s no way you can ever reach dreams, but strength of character, coupled with perseverance can get you through almost anything life throws at you. Take heart and believe that things will turn out well in the end. Think of life as a trip and yourself as a pilot – through turbulence and clear skies, you are in control and you can take your plane wherever you want to go. 

Still need a little urging that going off the beaten path is the right way to go? Check out the following stories of personalities who dared to go beyond their comfort zones.

Can you imagine Star Wars without Harrison Ford? The handsome, charismatic Han Solo character might not have seen the light of day if Ford didn’t take on the chance to accept the role and instead chose to remain as a carpenter. Yes, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars used to do carpentry work after doing a string of minor but uncredited roles in Hollywood. As luck would have it, one of his clients turned to be none other than George Lucas who offered him the role. Now we all know what happened to the man after he took the leap.

Domestic goddess Martha Stewart is another personality who took on an unusual career path. Before cooking and housekeeping tips to the whole word and building an empire of it, Stewart was initially a stockbroker. Her turn around came when she bought a rundown Connecticut farm house with her husband. The house needed tons of restoration which lead her to discover her talents for decorating and home management. 

Finally, there’s Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates. Studying in one of the most prestigious universities in the world didn’t matter much to Gates at that time as he found himself without direction, with no clear career path in mind. He spent his time in Harvard feeling aimless, but what was evident even back then was his passion for computers. With encouragement from his friend Paul Allen, Gates left the Ivy League school to start the company that shaped the technology we know and love today. Dropping out of school paid off handsomely for Gates. By how much, you ask? His network is pegged at an unbelievable $ 77.2 billion making him one of the richest persons in the world.

What separates these people from us regular folks? Aside from having fame and fortune, not much else really, and that’s exactly the point – they were all once in their lives just like you and me who were given incredible opportunities to change their course in life. The difference is they took the plunge and faced risks head on.

Now would you do the same when given the chance? Perhaps you should have an honest look at your life first to know the answer to this question.

Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Have you been unhappy with your job for sometime? Does your work still inspire to get up each day or are you just going through the motions? A change of scenery or direction may help bring energy back into your life. Next, start a plan to get the ball rolling in the right direction. Try out things that may be unfamiliar or challenging to you – you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try. You can start by enrolling in classes to learn a new skill. Thinking of joining a new industry? Networking is also a great way to learn about it. Asking the right people the right questions can help you figure out whether you are cut out for it or not.

And if you find that the path you chose might not be right for you, don’t lose hope just yet! The beautiful thing about life is that there are a million more paths and outcomes that await you – so don’t be afraid to go out and explore.


Further reading: 

Look for these 5 Important Items before Signing your Employment Contract

Avoiding the Wrong Career Path

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