Here at MyDomaine, we've been fortunate enough to gain career advice from many entrepreneurs over the past year, including Alli Webb, Ariel Kaye, and Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr, to name just a few. Perhaps the biggest takeaway we've learned from speaking with these female founders is that going outside your comfort zone is when the magic happens in your career. However, at the risk of stating the obvious, that's easier said than done.
To gain insight into exactly how to step out of your comfort zone, we turned to none other than the driven speakers at Create & Cultivate's first-ever Vision Summit for tips on how to move past the fear of change, gain the courage to take a risk, and embrace the uncertainty that comes with pursuing a new venture. Just in time for the New Year, here's advice from nine successful women on how to step out of your comfort zone.
Jaclyn Johnson, CEO and Founder, Create & Cultivate
"Being an entrepreneur is dealing with fear 24/7 that never goes away. But you will find over time that fear will become manageable, and the problems you face day to day become easier to tackle. You will learn that you really can face any of your fears, even the worst of them, by taking them one day at a time and approaching the issue with the experience you have."
Melisse Gelula, Co-Founder, Well+Good
"I focus on the purpose, the opportunity, and the change I want to help make in the world, and not myself. It's been about making wellness smart and stylish and really accessible to more people. When my energy and focus are on the benefits of my actions, and not on whether or not I'll succeed, there's a lot more joy in the process. It's like I have anxiety blinders and can blow by worries and fears. (If only I could bottle it for other times…) The best part? In these moments when I'm less in my head, I'm ironically—or magically—also most myself."
Maria Molland, THINX, Inc. CEO
"Dealing with the ups and downs that come with stepping out of your comfort zone is a large part of how to grow as a professional. There isn't an elevator that takes you straight to the top of where you want to be; we have to try new things, work hard, and learn from our mistakes in order to evolve. My ability to step outside of my comfort zone and sometimes fall flat on my face has made me the person I am today. I wouldn't change that for anything."
Pauline Lhote, Director of Winemaking at Chandon California
"Stepping outside of your comfort zone is the first step in heading down the path you were meant to take. It may be uncomfortable at first, but change is never easy. If I never took the internship at Chandon California, 5000 miles away from home in France, I probably wouldn't be where I am at today."
Monique Coleman, Actress and CEO, Mo'tivated Productions
"If you're afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, take the fear with you. Too often we wait for the perfect moment to leap. However, the only thing that will happen between now and when you decide to do it, is the passing of time. Don't waste another minute in the purgatory of what if. For each step you take, you'll be met with an unimaginable amount of grace, favor, and opportunity."
Jamie Chung, Actress and Creator of What the Chung
"When it comes to trying new things, start by changing your vocabulary. We are so quick to say NO. No, I can't do it. No, I'm too scared. No thank you. Start by saying YES. Yes, I'll give it a shot. Yes, I can. Yes, I think I'll kick ass in that. Yes because I'll never really know unless I give it a shot. SAY YES."
Iskra Lawrence, Leading Body Positivity Activist and #AerieREAL Role Model
"Stepping outside your comfort zone will change your life! If it seems intimidating at the start, try small steps and make achievable short-term goals. I dreamt of creating and executive producing my own show but was scared as I didn't have the proper experience. I started my own YouTube channels and stepped out of my comfort zone of thinking I'm just a model. You are more than you think and taking a leap of faith out of your comfort zone will help you grow personally and career-wise."
Amy Fraser, Founder, OKREAL
"For me, staying inside my comfort zone was riskier than stepping out of it. I have always been more afraid of regret than of failure—and that's what drove me to start my own business. I knew that if it didn't work out, I would learn from it, grow from it, and move on to something else. But staying stagnant out of fear would lead me nowhere. You have to be open to the fact that it might be painful and messy, but know that there is growth on the other side of that. There is nothing on the other side of staying still."
Daina Trout, Co-Founder and CEO, Health-Ade Kombucha
"Unfortunately, there is no way to grow without getting uncomfortable. I'm a turbo-mode type of gal (I think 'turbo mode is why we have the fastest-growing brand in the beverage industry), so I'm a believer that this is a linear relationship—the more you stretch, the more you win. The life of an entrepreneur with a fast-growth company is by definition extremely bumpy, prickly, and entirely uphill. Of course you can't do this type of ride nonstop without a break, where you can take a moment to look how far you've come and get a sprinkling feeling of victory, but quickly you must keep going.
My advice for how you can push yourself toward this type of growth is the following:
"1. Manage your expectations: Accept that extreme growth means extreme sacrifice and discomfort; this will not be the chapter in your life where you have it all and feel fantastic (but that will come, hopefully, next.)
"2. Train like an elite athlete, because yours is essentially the same job—sleep, hydrate, eat right, take care of yourself, and exercise to keep your body fit and as able as possible for the tough journey ahead.
"3. Sprint, then recover. Push as hard as you absolutely can up the hills, and take time to recover in between them. Hard work pays off has been a golden rule for us in entrepreneurship, and you just can't coast for too long or someone will beat you in the race.
"4. Hire others (especially in the beginning) that want to win really badly."