She was young, stylish, classy and smart. Exactly the kind of savvy businesswoman I (Wendy) wanted to look up to. Growing up I always admired the businesswomen in movies wearing their pencil skirts, silky blouses and high heels. I wanted to live a life like that. One where I could dress up, go to the office and show the world what I was made of.
Like most things though, real life didn’t exactly mirror the movies. (Shocker, I know) I was working at the corporate office of a medical software company. Our department recently underwent some organizational changes and now I had this savvy businesswoman as my Team Lead. I was trying to grow in my position but still often ran into problems I didn’t know how to solve. I remember getting stuck on one particular problem and went to her for help. As I walked up to her cubicle and asked her my question she turned around and impatiently said,
“Wendy, sometimes you just have to shoot in the dark.”
I was completely stunned! Leaders are supposed to encourage, support and grow their team! This didn’t feel supportive or encouraging at all! Instead, I felt ashamed and embarrassed for even asking. I turned and walked away on the verge of tears now having no idea where to go for help.
That was nearly 10 years ago. I have thought about that moment and how she so harshly responded to my question many many times since then. And, I have finally come to the conclusion that she actually did me a favor! It certainly wasn’t the best delivery of the message. But looking back, she was probably one of the first people who gave me “permission” to dig in to the unknown. Her words encouraged me step outside of my comfort zone.
The more courage I found to step outside of my comfort zone, the more confidence I gained. I began to learn about who I was and who I wanted to be. And I am still learning! Thankfully. Now I look forward to examining and challenging myself because it gives me the ability to grow even more. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, that moment was a starting point of tremendous personal growth.
Today, I want to offer the same encouragement for you. So here it is … YOU have permission to change adapt and grow!
So be courageous and step outside of your comfort zone. You might just like it!