A way to get yourself pumped up for your job search to begin in 2015 is to start stretching yourself now – get outside your comfort zone but take advantage of the holiday season to do it in a safe and familiar environment. This doesn’t have to be something huge – here are some examples:
- practice your public speaking and combat your inner shyness by volunteering to be the MC at the company holiday function (or if this is too challenging maybe try leading a carol or two)
- find a charity that you believe in and put together a fundraiser among your group (at work or socially) to raise a modest goal (say $100) for donation to the cause
- unleash your inner creativity by holding a craft party – whether for adults or kids – where you can make Christmas tree decorations, bake and decorate cookies or whatever appeals to your artistic nature
- wow your friends and family by doing something a bit out of the ordinary – a fresh new haircut, saying yes to an activity (be it bowling, bungee jumping or simply joining the gang for a drink) that you usually decline or simply showing up in a stylish, perfectly fitting suit when you’re usually a khaki and t-shirt guy
The benefits of stretching
So why should you forgo the ‘same old, same old’ – what’s in it for you that can translate into a better foundation for the job search process? Kathy Caprino has written a great article on this very subject and its full of great reasons why you should make ‘stretching’ outside your comfort zone a priority. Here’s a summary of her piece.
Accept imperfection (yours, theirs and the situation’s)
As the saying goes – perfection is the enemy of good – and far too many of us (and I count myself in this group) waste (precious) time trying to get to that unattainable degree of excellence. Being an organizer or MC of a holiday party is a great way to let go of this tendency. Guaranteed someone will be unhappy with some aspect of the event – the food, the venue, the music or who knows what – but when taken as a whole most attendees will agree that they are happy that someone (that would be YOU) took a leadership role. It’s a win for your confidence that will carry over into other ventures.
Inspire those around you
You might be surprised to know that people will not only notice but also appreciate your efforts even if they aren’t perfect (see previous point). So go ahead, try something new, gather people around you for a fun, creative evening or buy and wear that outfit that you know makes you look like a million bucks even though you still aren’t at the perfect weight.
Skip the regrets
Do you remember all the things you were scared to try as a kid and now regret not doing – actually no you probably don’t since we don’t seem to develop that particular inhibition until adolescence or later. Anyway, stretching outside your comfort zone as an adult, especially if you try it in the relatively safe environment of social rather than work-related activities, means that you’ll be able to experience that wonderful regret-free feeling. Yes, things may not go perfectly but you will have gotten over that initial hump (so maybe if the first attempt wasn’t so great the next one will be better) and even if you ‘failed’ you will have succeeded by trying.
Get clues to the real you
Going outside your comfort zone may give you clues to new areas of interest that you should pursue further. Also keep your ears and eyes open for what those around you say about your stretch activities – they can often be a better judge of your natural talents than you are.
The article has a couple more benefits but I didn’t find them as compelling but reference the piece if you want to see them all. I’d be interested to hear if you’ve stretched outside your comfort zone recently (or in the past) and what you took away from the experience – comment below or email me at susan at yyjworks.com.