How to Live Outside The Zone in Corporate America

After a powerful conversation with one of my great friends last weekend, I asked him to write up his experience with the ‘Don’t Be Philosophy’ in the competitive world of business.  This is his story:

From what I’ve witnessed in the corporate world, I can tell you that at every position, at every level, there will be something you encounter that will be outside your comfort zone. I believe it is those individuals who are comfortable and confident ‘Outside The Zone’ that are truly successful and satisfied with what they do.

In my case, I am in an industry that has a lot of client interaction. My clients are businesses. Most of my clients are some of the smartest people I will ever meet. Now, I am not one to be shy with people, but sometimes before speaking with my clients for the first time, I get nervous. I get nervous that I will say something stupid. I get nervous that they will not value my time or that I am wasting theirs. I am nervous that they will be rude, condescending, or downright mean.

I am not too far out of college. I think it is normal to have these fears. I think it is completely reasonable to be nervous. However, I cannot be good at what I do or be taken seriously or even advance in my career if I let these fears control my actions.

In stead, I say “Don’t Be”.  “Don’t be nervous”.

I go into my client’s office without being nervous. At that moment in time, I am not nervous because I have identified why I might be nervous. And once you simply realize why, you can just as quickly reason with yourself and say: “Don’t be”.  That mentality alone has pushed that nervousness aside and I will go into my client’s offices with confidence and the full ability to perform the job I was brought to do.

To this day, I have not had a bad experience with a client. In fact, I have maintained great relationships with my clients. Relationships I didn’t think were possible to have this early in my career. And I know that these relationships would not exist had I been nervous.

I believe this applies to all areas of life. In Bobby’s personal life, this was nervousness in big lacrosse games. To others, it might be that next presentation. It might be a sales call you have been reluctant to make. It might be the moment you enter a new position with more responsibility.  Whatever it is, this might be out of you comfort zone. And if there is something you have identified that will not make you succeed in this zone, you need to remind yourself: “Don’t Be”.

Don’t be what ever it is that will hold you back from being successful and happy at what you do.



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