Take A Flying Leap – You Still Can When You’re An Intern

outside-comfort-zoneThere are a couple of great sayings that are worth printing out and putting up on your memo board – you’ll find them often on posters, mugs, and refrigerator magnets. One is “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” The other is “Do one thing every day that scares you.” And at Advanse, we couldn’t agree more.

Those words of wisdom are true at any age. But we especially encourage interns and beginning professionals to take both sentiments to heart. Because when you are starting out, you have several things on your side:

You’re there to learn!

Unless the circumstances are unusual (everyone in charge got hit by lightning and you’re in charge of the nuclear codes) or the situation is bad (unprofessional managers who want to blame underlings), you’re the intern. You’re there to learn. And the expectation is that you don’t have all the answers. So hey, why not take on what you don’t know how to do? It’s the perfect opportunity to learn and stretch your skills.

imagesFear becomes your friend.

Learning or doing new things is always an uphill experience. But we no longer live in a time where jobs and economies reward you for staying put. And the people who are comfortable with the discomfort are the ones who continue taking chances and making big moves. To be sure, you never stop being nervous, or being aware of what’s at stake when you take on something new. But like a diver on a high board, if you get used to that feeling of butterflies, you will be better equipped to dive into opportunity.

The result is worth it.

Do you remember learning to walk, talk, or hold a pencil? No, because you were a baby. Skip ahead to childhood – perhaps you have unpleasant memories of how you inhaled water the first time you took a swim lesson. But you eventually learned to float, or at least know what water feels like and what not to do if you end up in water, right? The point is that trying new things leaves you with more experiences, and the ability to make more choices. And if you go through the effort, what you’re left with is new skills. The earlier you take those chances, and develop new skills in your working life, the more you give yourself options and the ability to adapt.

life-begins-at-the-end-of-your-comfort-zone-neal-donald-walsch-quote-958x1024It’s good for your health.

There’s all kinds of scientific evidence that trying new things is good for your brain. Which may mean nothing right now in your 20s, but can make a huge difference as you get older. There is a reason we tend to learn new things more easily as youngsters. But look around you and you’ll notice that those who are young at heart, those who are lifelong learners are probably healthier and happier adults.

As for those two quotes, it’s worth noting that the person credited with the “comfort zone” idea is a successful entrepreneur. And the other bit about trying something that scares you everyday? That’s from Eleanor Roosevelt – the shy ugly duckling who went to on to be one of the most admired First Ladies in US history.