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  • Writer's pictureSmitha Shetty

Get out of your comfort zone

Turning 35 got me onto a quest for a fast track on professional and personal growth. I just wanted more. Which was inconvenient because till then I had been living life in reactive mode. Not that it was a bad life- just limp. So I made a list (Ok, a really long list) of all my aspirations and critical needs -and immediately sat in front of the TV eating a really big bowl of ice-cream. I felt overwhelmed, incapable, out of depth-You know how it feels.

It took quite a few failed starts for me to get over myself and actually get started on creating a life of my own choice. The key to breaking real and self imposed shackles, make giant leaps and achieving your goals is to get out of your comfort zone. Doing those things that are necessary but that scare you. The things that hold you back. What I share with you today are simple tricks to get started on your Life Goals.

1. Get Self-aware-The What?: Remember the list I talked about-Make your own. A list of everything that you needed and aspired for. No, don’t leave anything out of the list. That pretty house on Main Street, that dream role, the next promotion, starting a 401K, learning Ukulele, going from size 14 to size 8, that hot guy across your office. Put it all in.

Now what do you want? Really, Really want? Pick the top 3 that you are going to actively work on for the next foreseeable future (3 months, 6 months, take a pick). Oh, And don’t throw the list away. Keep it in your secret locker-Because you are going to make every single bullet in that list a reality AND you are going to add to the list.

2. Sound justification-The Why?: Now ask yourself. Why do you want it? If the outcome does not get you all excited, thrilled and you are already struggling to get it done-Chances are you will not get it done

do you want to re-look the list? No?-OK, Read ahead.

3. Choose a method that works for you-The How?: A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to become better at networking. Tall order because, I hated to do it. I would push myself to go to networking events. Try shaking hands, making lame conversations. Because that’s what all the networking articles said we should do. Only problem, I was really bad at it. I am pretty sure that I made no impact with all the people attending the event. And then, I tried something else. I started volunteering at organizations that I was passionate about. Met people there, had real conversations. When I was fired from my job, these connections panned out. I got a job offer within 3 weeks. I had met close to 80 people in the interim-all introduced by the people I met when I was volunteering.

Moral of the story, if the best way to do something isn't your way, then don’t do it. Find the way that’s right for you and then make it work.

4. Break your goal into manageable chunks: Going on a diet? Don’t try to drink 4 litres of water, exercise for 2 hours, stop eating sugar, change food habits all in the same day. I tried that and I failed. Second time around, I did it a little slow. Started with drinking water, made that a habit and then moved on to the next one. Hopefully the habits I make now will last longer this time.

5. Get help: Full disclosure, I still am a work in progress for this one. In the past if I had to ask help, I would agonize, plan every conversation, see if I can barter… These days, I ask for help/advise. I express gratefulness and then pass on the favor forward when possible

6. Manage your mind: Manage the mind monkey and you are half way home. So here’s what I do:*Have a visual/symbolic reminder

7. Give help: If you want to learn, teach. For the longest time, I wanted a mentor. I looked for initiatives that provided that support and did not find any. Frustrated, I joined an organization that mentors women professionals. Within 6 months, I was chosen for a mentorship program. Since then, I have regular calls with multiple mentors who guide me down my personal and professional journey.So there you have it. Your formula to get you out of your comfort zone to achieve audacious Life Goals. Stay blessed!

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