inspiration

How Leaving Your Comfort Zone Is Key to Growth and Success

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Comfort is overrated. 

It doesn’t guarantee happiness. It doesn't guarantee stability. Comfort actually can make us lazy. Many people are so comfortable they’re miserable. You may think that comfort leads to happiness. It doesn’t. Happiness comes from growth and feeling like you are making progress. Think about it: Have you ever accomplished anything amazing, while in auto pilot? Probably not. 

You can either be comfortable and become stagnant or stretch yourself — become uncomfortable — and grow.  I'm here to tell you... choose the latter.

"In an increasingly competitive and accelerated world, those who are willing to take risks, step out of their comfort zone and into the discomfort of uncertainty are often those who reap the biggest rewards [and find success.]" - Margie Warrell, Forbes

Discomfort is a catalyst for growth. It makes us yearn for something more. It forces us to change and adapt. Discomfort is a sign we’re advancing our lives. Breaking a habit, trying something new, taking a risk, making new connections, or putting yourself in a totally new situation isn't every easy, but it’s worth it. 

When I first left my parents’ home in Houston, Texas at twenty three to move to New York City, I was anxious, nervous, excited, and of course terrified. Here I was, working on a contract gig, that ended in 8 weeks with only my savings and two suitcases to get by. I knew one person, my roommate, but I had only visited New York once prior and hadn't even seen the the apartment I would be moving into. I was  completely outside of my comfort zone. When I arrived, I learned so many things (through trial and error) -- including the subway system, the challenges of living in a five story walk-up, that A/C nor washing and dryers were considered standard amenities, and countless more. Fast forward five years and I've grown accustomed to the fast pace life of a New Yorker. I have my own apartment four blocks from Central Park -- with an elevator (Thank God!), I have grown my career and expertise exponentially, and now lead my own team, doing a job I love, and I have established life long friendships and business relationships beyond the one person I moved here knowing. While I've had more than my fair share of ups and downs along the way, the one thing that has proven true time and time again, is that no worthwhile aspiration or endeavor can be accomplished from within my comfort zone. Only in giving up the security of the known can we create new opportunities, become more capable, and grow our lives and careers.  

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Trust me, no one likes feeling uncomfortable, but it’s a big part of improving your life. The challenge is to get past that initial feeling of wanting to return to the norm, so you can benefit from the discomfort. When you try a new exercise routine for the first time, you know it's going to hurt, you're going to be tired, but once you push yourself to finish the workout, you feel so much better afterwards. The expression, “no pain, no gain” is not only true in the gym, but it's true in life as well. 

Throughout our lives and careers we must continually assess whether we are letting our fear of failure  keep us from taking the actions, and engaging in the conversations, that will move us forward and make the impact we desire. Of course, being willing to take a risk doesn’t mean everything you try will work out

But as John F. Kennedy once said, "Nothing worthwhile has ever been accomplished with a guarantee of success." Nothing ever will be.

Envision your life, five, ten, fifteen years from now.

    If you knew that no matter what happened, you could handle it, what actions would you take, what conversations would you have that you’ve been putting off, where would you step out more fully and boldly in your own life - and in doing so, open up the possibility for new opportunities, relationships, and ideas?

    Envision your life, five, ten, fifteen years from now -- and ask yourself :

    1. What do I want to be doing?
    2. Who do I want to be doing it with?
    3. Where do I want to be in life/career/relationships?
    4. When am I going to leave my comfort zone?
    5.  Why am I waiting to make my dreams a reality?

    CHANGE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

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    LEAVING YOUR DREAM JOB IS NEVER EASY

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    Today is Monday and for the first time in over two years, I didn't wake up and hit the ground running to go to my dream job in the Empire State Building at one of the top Sports & Entertainment PR agencies in New York City.

    It was definitely a strange experience when my alarm went off this morning, to not get dressed, hop on the "B" train to Herald Square, and prepare for a day full of meetings with clients and colleagues.

    The same clients and colleagues that I've grown to know and love, that I've brainstormed with, had lunch, dinner, and drinks with, clients and colleagues I've danced with in Boston night clubs, clients and colleagues I have been in the trenches with at midnight some nights and on Christmas Eve to bring campaigns from concept to creation.

    When you love your job, your colleagues, and your boss, it can be really hard to turn in your resignation. It’s not just the job you’re leaving. It's like losing part of your family.  

    I’ll never forget when I got the call back in 2015, saying that I got the job. As a young girl from Texas, with dreams of taking New York City by storm-– my job was truly a dream come true. A PR job, working on NFL campaigns AND inside the EMPIRE STATE BUILDING. It was hard to contain my excitement. Fast forward over two years, and I'm now closing a chapter. It's very bittersweet. 

    I smile when I think back at all the things I accomplished. From multiple Super Bowls and NFL Drafts, to three NFL kick-offs , a few Thanksgiving games, and NFL Honors along the way. This job has helped me grow exponentially as a person and a PR professional. I look back on dozens of media days with  NFL players like Rob Gronkowski, Jerome Bettis, Josh Norman, Clay Matthews, and Emmanuel Sanders to name a few. I think back on one of my biggest accomplishments, winning 12 Cannes Lions (one of the most prestigious awards in the industry) for our 2017 Super Bowl campaign.

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    It's very nostalgic to the say the least. However, as the saying goes-- "all good things must come to an end". And just as the work towards a goal you have set comes to an end, so does the joy and excitement around "achieving" it. Therefore, you have to set new ones. And while it has been an amazing opportunity and experience to find my "dream job". I had an equally amazing revelation recently. And that is-- In life, as we continue to grow and evolve, so do our dreams. And that's okay.

    Dreams change. Goals grow. Passions evolve. 

    And while I once dreamed of living in New York City, as a Sports & Entertainment Publicist working in the NFL, this young girl (now Boss Lady) from Texas has new dreams.

    So with much gratitude to my support system (mentors, friends, family) as well as my former colleagues and boss (for grooming me into the professional I am today), I've decided it's time to continue to expand my Sports portfolio and expertise. I am excited to announce that I'll be starting a new job at Ketchum Sports & Entertainment as a Managing Account Supervisor this Wednesday.

    With my new role, I'll get the opportunity to work on clients across College Football, Olympics, NFL, Soccer and more. And while it's difficult to part ways with such an awesome company, it's serves as major inspiration for me that I can "find my dream job" and still continue dreaming. I can't wait to see what's next and I'm excited to take you all on my journey.

    Boss Tribe... use this as a reminder that while it's always good to set goals and work towards them, it's also important to keep setting new ones, once we reach the old ones. Always keep dreaming! The world is ours for the taking. 

    Quick trip down memory lane to some of my favorite memories....

    I have to lead my walk down memory lane with a photo of the hardest working team I've ever been apart of. I'll remember each and every one of you for sticking with me through one of my most challenging and rewarding projects ever. #BradshawStain

    I have to lead my walk down memory lane with a photo of the hardest working team I've ever been apart of. I'll remember each and every one of you for sticking with me through one of my most challenging and rewarding projects ever. #BradshawStain

    The War Room during Super Bowl 51, watching my client's commercial air in real time on Super Bowl Sunday.  .

    The War Room during Super Bowl 51, watching my client's commercial air in real time on Super Bowl Sunday.

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    Working with first-round draft pick, Jamal Adams (NY Jets) at the 2017 NFL Draft.

    Working with first-round draft pick, Jamal Adams (NY Jets) at the 2017 NFL Draft.

    My media credentials from my first Super Bowl. 

    My media credentials from my first Super Bowl. 

    After a full day of media interviews with Jerome Bettis (retired Pittsburgh Steelers).

    After a full day of media interviews with Jerome Bettis (retired Pittsburgh Steelers).

    On the red carpet at 2017 NFL Honors Awards Show.

    On the red carpet at 2017 NFL Honors Awards Show.

    Killing the sports game, with one of my favorite former colleagues Samantha Baier; talking about marketing to women in Sports.

    Killing the sports game, with one of my favorite former colleagues Samantha Baier; talking about marketing to women in Sports.

    My first sideline experience at a Cincinatti Bengals game against the Miami Dolphins.

    My first sideline experience at a Cincinatti Bengals game against the Miami Dolphins.

    My first sideline passes at said NFL game.

    My first sideline passes at said NFL game.

    Media day with Josh Norman (Washington Redskins) and Emmanuel Sanders (Denver Broncos) at Super Bowl 50!

    Media day with Josh Norman (Washington Redskins) and Emmanuel Sanders (Denver Broncos) at Super Bowl 50!

    My first NFL Draft experience, hosting media day with six first round picks: Ronnie Stanley(Baltimore Ravens), Eli Apple (NY Giants), Josh Doctson (Washington Redskins), Vernon Hargreaves (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Jared Goff (L.A. Rams), and Jack Conklin (Tennessee Titans).Listed left to right, top to bottom.

    My first NFL Draft experience, hosting media day with six first round picks: Ronnie Stanley(Baltimore Ravens), Eli Apple (NY Giants), Josh Doctson (Washington Redskins), Vernon Hargreaves (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Jared Goff (L.A. Rams), and Jack Conklin (Tennessee Titans).Listed left to right, top to bottom.

    One of Jerome Bettis' media interviews I scheduled at Super Bowl 50 on the Rich Eisen Show.

    One of Jerome Bettis' media interviews I scheduled at Super Bowl 50 on the Rich Eisen Show.

    All of the fan gear I purchased for my first Super Bowl game... I unapologetically fan girled out!

    All of the fan gear I purchased for my first Super Bowl game... I unapologetically fan girled out!

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    7 Steps You Can Take Today, To Start Living Your Best/Boss Life

    In life, we get so busy trying to hit our goals and achieve success, that we forget to live in the present and enjoy the moment. In order to be happy and live your best life, you don’t need a million dollars or a new Chanel bag. Often times you just need to take the first step and put one foot in front of the other to feel accomplished like you are progressing.

    Here are seven easy steps you can start today, to start living your best BOSSIEST life!

    1. Stop Procrastinating

    Take one step towards the thing you have been dreaming about! Buy that domain name for $9.99. Spend 30 minutes applying for that job. Write that thank you note. Go to the gym. Whatever it is you have been putting off, take one action step towards it today. 

    2. Add Affirmations to your Daily Routine!

    There is so much power in the words “I AM”. Every morning I tell myself “I AM” three things. Everyday it’s something different. Today...

    • I AM Intelligent
    • I AM  Unstoppable
    • I AM Powerful!

    3. Power Pose (like Beyonce)

    Go to a mirror. Stand in front of it with your hands on your hips for 30 seconds! *Bonus* Repeat your three affirmations in this pose. (It feels silly, but I promise you will feels so damn good afterwardsJust like Bey standing with your hands on your hips can boost your confidence. “Research shows that standing tall with your chest out and hands on your hips can make you feel bolder. In fact, in a Ted Talk social psychologist Amy Cuddy noted that holding this pose for just two minutes can boost your levels of testosterone and lower your levels cortisol, and that these hormonal change can configure your brain to be assertive, confident and comfortable.”

    4. Do Something Nice for Someone less fortunate

    Buy a homeless person a meal, donate all those clothes your closet you haven’t worn in  years. There’s something about giving that just lifts your spirits. Let’s be honest, if you’re reading this blog (you have access to a computer and wifi) so that in itself is a privilege.

    5.   Be Grateful!

    This one is huge! We all want more. We all want better. But stop today and write down three things you are grateful for. And tomorrow write three more. If you do this everyday for a week, you will have 21 things you are grateful for and will be on your way to appreciating and living your happiest (and bossiest) life.

    6.  Forgive her/him

    The person in your life, that has controlled your thoughts for far too long, forgive them! It will add years to your life. Key word, is to forgive (not forget). Trust me! You’re doing yourself more harm than good by holding on to old hurt, pain, or resentment. How can you live your bossiest life, if you’re constantly cursing someone in your head?

    7. Compliment someone

    Because paying a sincere compliment feels even better than receiving one....and best of all it’s free! We all know how great it is to receive a compliment; research shows getting a sincere compliment gives us the same positive boost as receiving cash! But did you know that the health and happiness benefits to the compliment giver are also well-documented? Compliments really are one of the easiest two-way streets available in terms of spreading happiness around you and increasing your own. The more you compliment, the better you feel.

     

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    COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY!

    We’ve all heard the quote “Comparison is a thief of joy” yet we often fall victim.  Whether it’s your Instagram feed, your snapchat, or your television screen, it feels as if we can't go more than five minutes without seeing an airbrushed photo, travel boomerang, engagement video, gender reveal, or home purchase announcement. While I'm a big fan of social media, as it’s opened a new world of connectivity and opportunity -- I’ve seen it take a toll on so many women. Myself included.  

    Have you ever gone on a social media “fast” or deactivated your accounts? It’s likely you felt yourself getting consumed and needed to step away for whatever reason. My guess is it was due to  overconsumption of other people’s social updates on their “perfect lives". It likely happened at a time when things weren’t going that great for you, so the comparison monster creeped in your head and you  just needed to step away. Which kudos to you for being aware enough to back away and for some self care.

    Comparing your work, your life, or whatever else will only serve to make you unhappy. Why? Because when you compare yourself to others, you know all the dirty details of your situation or the problems you’re having, and you only have the perfect highlight reel of others.  Now I’m not a proponent of posing your dirty laundry or issues on social networks in an effort to appear “real”. I just think it’s good as women to be mindful that the images we see on social media are usually 1 of 654765 photo attempts, combined with apps that allow women to smooth, contour, suck in, and poke out things that aren’t really there.  

    However, I learned a long time ago that comparing myself to others is a waste of energy. There will always be someone better at something than I am. And that’s fine. 

    When I started looking at comparison differently, things begin to shift. When I see someone who has done or is doing something I would like to do, instead of envying it, I let it inspire me and an indicate that I, too, can achieve it.

    WHY COMPARISON IS STEALING MORE THAN YOUR JOY…(IT'S MAKING YOU JEALOUS)

    While Comparison is a thief of joy, jealousy is its partner in crime. Comparison is corrosive. It eats away at your ability to be content and confident. It is a toxic and leads to its accomplice --- jealousy.

    Whether you’re comparing your body, abilities, or bank account to someone else’s, you are doing harm to yourself by allowing that comparison to rob me of my self-satisfaction and cause envy. And that’s a bad habit that’s hard to break,

    Jealousy has a way of focusing on one thing at the expense of others, giving an incomplete picture. For example, envy ignores the hours of work that generated the salary, the years spent getting a degree and the sacrifice of time that could have been spent with friends or family. It overlooks the years of practice, confusion, or failure that preceded the success. It discounts the struggle, when the struggle IS REAL!

    Comparison fosters competition more than community.

    Instead of celebrating individuality, uniqueness, and diversity, comparison requires someone be labeled the winner and someone the loser. We view other women  as competitors instead of companions. This leads to a “better than versus worse than” mentality and feelings of superiority or inadequacy — neither of which helps us to all be BOSS WOMEN.  

    Comparison imposes unrealistic expectations.

    It’s fairly easy to envy one aspect of another person’s life — his/her figure, talent, wealth, significant other, or intelligence. It’s much harder to examine and then envy a whole life — a robust picture of one's experiences. When I have to weigh everything at once, I tend to be more satisfied with what I have. Because if I want anything someone else has (his/her education, self confidence, weight, et cetera), I have to take everything else that comes with it — be it a bomb three story house, a cheating significant other , perfect teeth, or an alcoholic parent.

    I’m not saying every life balances out. Some lives have more blessings and some have more loss. But every life has its relative ins and outs that we rarely see play out.

    Comparison makes you powerless.

    When you compare, you get jealous, when you are jealous,  you can’t be satisfied. When you aren't satisfied you are powerless. You are powerless, because even when you’re happy with your life, comparison will have you out here desiring a another person’s man, salary, height, success, wardrobe, hair, fill-in-the-blank. Which is crazy...because you were just satisfied with what you had.

    Comparison undermines friendships.

    Comparison and jealousy sometimes is a subtler infection. Especially in friendships. One of the sadder truths I’ve learned as I continue to grow is that some people or "friends" want to see you win, but not more than them. We’re unable to genuinely congratulate someone who accomplishes a dream or goal we have for ourselves. We become cheap with our affirmations and good will (even our Instagram “likes”) when we’re jealous. Have you ever withheld a “like” because you thought the other person was bragging about his/her vacation, workout, wedding, or weight loss?

    Comparing puts us in the mindset that another person’s good fortune leaves less in the world for us. Which is absolutely untrue. If you want to start a blog, but your friend already started one...go start your blog. You want to sing but your friend has a record deal, ask her for tips and utilize her expertise. While some things in life are limited in supply, most things are not. Love, joy, laughter, success, friendship, peace — those things are all UNLIMITED.

    How do I prevent comparison and jealousy from stealing my joy?

    The antidote is simple:

    Allow yourself to compare, but also seek a course of action. If YOU want something someone else has, ask YOURSELF if you are willing to do what it will take to have what the other person has. If the answer is no, then the jealousy should evaporate. If the answer is yes, then it becomes the seed for a new dream and the motivation to nurture it. This prevents me from wanting the reward separate from the prerequisite work. 

    Gratitude also helps. It’s difficult to be jealous when you're grateful. Comparison focuses on deficits while gratitude focuses on gains. Gratitude does not require the denial of loss, lack, or hardship. What it does do, at least for me, is prevent those things that are good from being obscured by those things I want.

    Being grateful takes me a step further, because true gratitude engenders generosity. And when I’m giving, I’m not looking for what I lack. Instead, I’m trying to offer something to others out of what I already have — whether it’s my money, knowledge, time, love, abilities, or talents.

     We might as well learn to love myself on my own terms — who I am, how I look, and what I’m capable of — because YOU are the only YOU in this world.

    BOSS 101: INTERVIEW WITH KIM DAILY

     

    I met Kim Daily in middle school. We were always one of five or six black girls in our honors classes from seventh through twelfth grade. I always admired her drive, tenacity, and cross over and jump shot on the basketball court. (She was always on the A-team or Varsity, while I was on the B-team/Junior Varsity basketball teams haha.) The only place, I could attempt to keep up with her, was in the classroom. After high school, we went our separate ways and on to college. She went to Washington University in St. Louis, while I went to the University of Texas at Austin. While we lost touch, it all came full circle when she pursued her law degree at UT. Although I had already left Austin a year and a half prior, we still connected briefly so I could offer her some tips on best places to get a good meal, a good hairstyle, and a good word at church. While we haven't seen each other in person in almost a decade, I've continued to watch her glow and flourish over the past fews years and I am so honored to know this boss woman and be aspired by her from afar. 

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    Tell us a little about yourself

    My name is Kim Daily. I’m a lawyer from Houston, TX.  I’m a huge New England Patriots fan. I love to sing, even though I know it sounds good to absolutely no one other than myself.  (To me, it sounds like joy. I love the sound of joy.) And I am a graduate of the absolute best university in the cosmos—Washington University in St. Louis.

    What inspired you to pursue a career in Law?

    Honestly—and I wish I had a more profound story than this—I grew up watching lawyers on TV and thought, “that should be me.” I take great delight in storytelling and in breaking complex ideas down into understandable and relatable pieces. I enjoy doing that in written form and also in the spoken word. Every lawyer is not a courtroom lawyer, but I knew I wanted to be one, and I’ve enjoyed my career so far.

    What’s one piece of advice you have for women out there that are looking to pursue a career in Law?

    Know what you want and don’t take out massive student loans to get it. Law school is expensive, and far too many people decide to attend without actually stepping foot inside a law firm or courtroom, and without talking to lawyers about what they do on a daily basis and what their quality of life is like. Google is not always your friend when it comes to choosing your career. Talk to yourself, your God, your friends, and your family to evaluate what skills and traits you have that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t mess up. What light radiates within you? Who are you at your core? Know yourself, know the field, and exercise wisdom in deciding how much of a financial sacrifice you should take to make that happen.

    What challenges do you face as a woman in your field? Specifically, what challenges do you face as a Black woman?

    I’m glad you asked the second question, because the only place where I ever identify solely as a woman is on a basketball court full of men. Otherwise, everywhere I go, in every space I enter, I am a black woman. The biggest challenge I face is people expecting mediocrity. And that’s after they realize, yes, I am a lawyer, and yes, this is my seat at the table. I remember the first time I walked into my Honors-level reading class on the first day of 6th grade, and my teacher automatically assumed I was in the wrong room before even checking my schedule. “I’m sorry sweetheart, your classroom is down the hall.” I was obviously the only black person in the class. She turned me away twice before she realized I was actually supposed to be there. And unfortunately, that scenario still plays out in my career now. But I’m not 11 years old anymore, and I’m certainly not about to walk out of any room or space I know good and well I belong in.   

     How do you deal with being a female in the courtroom and in a male dominated industry?

    Ha! I’ve found myself the only woman (and the only black person) in the courtroom and conference room countless times. I deal with it the same way I deal with it on the basketball court: I’m gon’ show y’all what it is and you gon’ learn today.

    What inspires you?

    History inspire me. One of the greatest truisms in my life is that you cannot know where you are going until you know where you have been. I’ve had the privilege—a deep, immeasurable privilege—of living 28 years under the tutelage of all four of grandparents, each of whom were born and raised in Jim Crow Mississippi. I think often about what they endured and sacrificed so that I can be who I am today. I think about my ancestors and the fact that I, we, are their wildest dreams. “Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise.”  

    What Quote do you live by?

    “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will see it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6.

    In addition to being a lawyer, you also run your own brand/webseries called The Closing Argument. Tell us more about that.

    Just as Toni Morrison did with her first novel, my partner and I created The Closing Argument because we wanted to watch it. We wanted to put young, well-informed, engaging black and minority voices at the forefront of conversations analyzing our current political and social climate. We wanted to showcase a multifaceted American perspective—one that elevates the conversation so that we’re talking to, not at, each other—and we wanted it to come from faces that are typically type-casted and put into a box. In other words, we wanted to shatter expectations and solidify our seat at the table.

    We want The Closing Argument to place manna in the hands of those across the political spectrum who crave authentic conversation, who want to know how to respond when presented with different arguments, and who desire to go beyond tweetable and meme-able quips and clapbacks.

    What inspired you to start The Closing Argument?

    I’ve always been politically-oriented and have never been one to keep quiet on issues of social justice. I didn’t have an outlet to express my views the way I wanted to, so I created one.

    How do you balance a 9-5 and your video channel?

    Oh, I don’t. My full-time job has required a lot of time and energy in the past few months and I haven’t been able to do what I’d originally planned with the show. My passion hasn’t wavered, but I believe self-care is a real and important thing, and I couldn’t balance it all. We have the gears shifting to get back in production soon, and I’m really, really excited about that.

    How do you redefine the B word? What’s your Boss Word?

    My B word is bold. I know who I am and I live out that truth in unapologetic confidence everyday.

    Any advice, tips, or additional stories you think could inspire and help a millennial woman aspiring to build her brand, her career, or a side hustle?

    Ask yourself: what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Then go after it with every fiber of what makes you, you.

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