The leadership comfort zone

Last Saturday, I did something that I’ve never done before: I took an exercise class. I tend to work out at home where I felt I could be as uncoordinated as possible and didn’t have to worry about anyone but my dog.  However, on the invitation of my good friend Taice, I went to a Zumba class in Laurel, MD. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to keep up. That it was more intense than my fitness level could take. Worse, Taice wanted us to be at the front of the class right behind our instructor Kay. So if you’re keeping score, I’m taking my first ever exercise class where I know one person and I’m standing in the front of a bunch of strangers. Awesome. What did I get myself into? I asked myself. 60 minutes later,  I realized my fears were completely irrational. Not only did I finish the class without collapsing, I felt amazing afterwards. I am officially hooked on Zumba.

Thinking about that experience has helped me in my current situation. You see, my boss of three years resigned from my association.  In a surprising move, I was asked to take on the responsibility of managing the office and staff in the interim. It was a surprise because I’m neither the most senior staffer on our team nor a PhD level psychologist, two of the qualities my former boss possessed when she was promoted. I’m honored that I’m seen as someone capable of taking on this role, but felt a bit unsure of whether I was up for it. The added responsibilities are on top of my heavy workload.  I wondered how my coworkers felt about reporting to me. Questioned how would this affect my schedule as far as family and friends. Can I really do this job?

When it comes to leadership, nothing can prepare us for everything we may experience. Whether we’re taking charge of our careers, our health or our love lives, taking that uncomfortable step out of the comfort zone is how we learn and grow. The moment we shy away from potential opportunities is the moment when we should run head-on towards them. What’s happening now is preparing me for something else, either in my current role or a future opportunity. Regardless of what happens over the next few months, my dear friend Artesha Moore said it best: Hold on and ride the wave!


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