Because of my fear of heights, I was curious to see how I’d fare at Aerial Yoga. I tried it for the first time last month. I anticipated feeling unsure and uncomfortable being upside down without the comfort of gravity keeping me grounded to the earth. I would not be in control of the situation, my body, or my mind. But, rather than giving in to paralyzing fear, I resigned myself to TRUST my instructor when she told me to fling my body forward face first. Surprisingly, I felt a sense of accomplishment from hanging freely upside down.
As a young corporate associate, I also experienced trepidation when faced with stacks of legal documents to organize or was tasked with reviewing an overwhelmingly large sample of due diligence materials for an upcoming transaction. I faced similar professional uncertainty (i.e., FEAR) when I lost my BIG LAW firm job and then again when I started ABD Law.
Today, I understand and appreciate that even though facing the unknown is often scary, I achieve increased levels of self-esteem and self-satisfaction from learning new skills.
Even after more than 22 years of legal practice, I sometimes experience feelings of discomfort when taking on a new client or a new contract. When facing a new professional challenge, I ask myself variations of the following questions:
I approach answering these questions with the same nervous energy I experienced when I was swinging upside down from a hammock in Aerial Yoga, as well as my experience at the Vatican, but I’ve learned the necessity of being willing to go outside of my comfort zone in order to grow.
As humans, we are adaptable even if we don’t know it. Just like going to the gym, advancing professionally requires exercising these muscles throughout our careers and having various experiences outside of our areas of expertise in order to remind ourselves just how adaptable we really are.
Only from experience can you learn that when you venture outside of your comfort zone, not only will you SURVIVE, but often you will THRIVE.