Have you ever heard the expression, ‘Great things never come from comfort zones?’ I have. And I also know how easy it is to stay in your comfort zone or to make excuses, which can keep you there. At some point, we’ve all done this (or know someone who has). But the most exhilarating feeling can be having something scare you and still having the courage to do it anyway.
One of my resolutions this year was to attend more professional development events and to take advantage of networking opportunities. So, when I saw on Instagram that Babes in Business Long Island was hosting a local event, I added it to my calendar. But I didn’t register just then. I waited—not because I was nervous to go by myself—but because I could already feel myself dreading attending a three-and-a-half-hour event after a long day in the office. The day before the event, I decided to go ahead and register, figuring that I could always leave early if I was exhausted.
When the day of the event arrived, I felt energized. But when I started seeing all of the unfamiliar faces in the oversized room, I felt that feeling of dread again. I was there to mingle and to make new connections, but the idea of talking about myself and what I did felt like a chore. I started to resort to my old ways—and stood quietly in the back of the room by the food. Then I thought to myself, ‘This is ridiculous. You paid good money to attend this event.’ That moment was just what I needed to snap out of my funk and start introducing myself to the other people in attendance. After a few minutes of awkward introductions, I realized something. Almost everyone in the room felt the same way I did to some degree. We were all strangers who came to the event to meet other like-minded entrepreneurial women.
It was amazing how a smile or a simple ‘hello’ could make the perfect icebreaker. Within minutes I found myself chatting away and swapping business cards with my new found connections.
Had I let my comfort zone win out, I likely wouldn’t have talked to anybody. I wouldn’t have exchanged cards with a woman who makes a natural line of body soaps, or chatted with a woman who hosts a podcast or sat next to a naturopathic doctor who practices in the same town I live in. Instead, I stepped out of my comfort zone and talked, asked questions, and connected. By the end of the night, I had a handful of new business cards in my possession and had countless new followers on Instagram, but most importantly, I connected with other inspiring women in real life.