Think back to a time when you started a new business, new job, or took on a new role at your existing company. Did you feel at least an ounce of uncertainty before you took the leap?

Chances are you felt a mix of nervous energy and excitement because you knew your comfort level would be tested.

Many of life's greatest rewards are earned when we step outside of the status quo and experience something new and different. As rewarding as change can be, it also carries risk (and that risk can create doubt).

If you are about to walk down some new, perhaps unpaved roads on your career journey only one thing is certain: uncertainty. Here are some tips to help you navigate the road ahead.

1) Change is made by those who do (not those who ask)

As a leader you want employees who can create change. They firmly believe in their ideas, have the data to back them up, and are ready to take them to the next level. But there is a distinct difference between employees that are predisposed to taking initiative and employees that continually wait for permission to take action.

In the spirit of "moving fast and breaking things," actions oftentimes speak louder than words. Generally, mistakes made through action and testing aren't going to bankrupt or derail a company, so why feel the need to continually ask for consent? Empowerment is a crucial value for every company and employee to embrace. If you surround yourself with the spirit of empowerment you will create a culture of problem solvers that will take you business to great heights.

2) If you aren't uncomfortable, you aren't pushing yourself far enough

Discomfort is something that every leader and employee should accept and work to thrive through. You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable, embrace the difficult conversations, and be clear and candid with your wants and expectations. Recognize that when you feel nervous about a project or conversation and you avoid it, you are missing an opportunity for growth.

It takes a special type of individual to purposefully put themselves in uncomfortable situations. At my company Porch.com, we look for employees that actively seek out the biggest challenges for themselves and for the company. Regularly pushing your boundaries is key to keeping momentum in a startup, and on an individual level, it's the difference between being good and being great.

3) Rise until you're over your head, then rise again to meet the challenge

Success is a great feeling. It gives you the confidence to know you are on the right track and have acquired acumen to perform a particular discipline. To maintain that feeling you need to continue to push yourself so you can achieve even bigger goals. When this happened you will suddenly find that you are out of your comfort zone and out of your league--and that's a good thing.

As leaders, we naturally feel the urge to rise until we feel as though we are in over our heads. At that point, the ones destined for change are able to keep rising to meet the new challenges as opposed to reverting back to safe harbors. In work and life, it's important to recognize that there is a cycle of peaks and plateaus, and each one provides an opportunity for growth and improvement.

Published on: Mar 28, 2015
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