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Risk and Win! 10 Things to Nudge You Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Risk and Win! 10 Things to Nudge You Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Same ol’, same ol’…get up, go to work, get home, handle dinner and get ready to go to bed so you can get up and do the same thing again.

And yet some people don’t do that. They live exciting lives filled with new experiences and exciting things to look forward to. They jet off to different places and you never know what they might be doing next.

How did these people escape the daily grind? How did they get so lucky?

There is a secret…wanna hear it?

The secret is discomfort. That’s right discomfort and the tolerance thereof. Because the actual truth of the matter is that if you never step out of your comfortable routine, your life doesn’t change for the better.

Now I don’t recommend that you simply go out and make yourself uncomfortable simply to be uncomfortable. It is not the discomfort that makes one successful but the willingness to experience discomfort in the process of creating something altogether new.

Let’s call it “Focused Discomfort”; Discomfort as a byproduct of taking calculated risks and doing something amazing.

Now before you go out and immerse yourself in random discomfort, let’s take a look at certain focused discomforts that you should be revelling in:

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1) Commit yourself

That is some serious discomfort! It takes guts to really commit to a course of action. It takes a certain confidence that you will overcome any obstacle to completing the thing you set out to do. But if you don’t commit to anything, you drift along like an idle tide not really knowing what to do or where to go.

Success in life depends on commitment to many courses of action and the persistence to see them through. If you want to make it really exciting, brag about how great you are at whatever it is you have committed yourself to. I can guarantee some sleepless nights, but who knows what you might pull off!

2) Risk being rejected

I have another secret for you. If you reach out to someone with a genuine desire to be friendly and you are rebuffed, it has nothing to do with you unless you are really creepy, and I am doubting that you are.

If you have a sincere desire to make someone’s life better by interacting and they rebuff you, they are a pretty unhappy person. Ignore the rebuff and go reach out to someone else. There are a lot more people who will accept you than will rebuff you, and those who rebuff you aren’t worth losing sleep over.

3) Risk starting your own venture

Wow! When you think about it, you can start anything you want! You can start a choir, a movie group, an ice cream store, a bakery! The list is endless!

It is a big undertaking and there is risk, but risk is mitigated by knowledge. The more knowledge you have about the venture you are creating, the less risk there is.

Starting a new venture is always occasioned by some discomfort, but there are also highs that you can only experience by doing it. The creation of something new and wonderful is a huge high point in life. Don’t deny yourself, but do educate yourself before making a leap.

4) Risk going after your dreams

I am betting that there is at least one person out there making money doing what you dream of doing. If this is the case, then why aren’t YOU doing it? Is it because someone told you that it was not a “safe” profession, that it was not “stable” financially? Well, I have news. Nothing is safe and nothing is stable.  So you may as well do something you love.

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When you have a passion for something, you get really good at it. And if even one person is making money doing it, that means that other people are willing to pay for it. If people are willing to pay for it, you can make money doing it. You just have to figure out how. The best way to do that is to talk to those who have and do what they did.

One example of this is music. You hear music everywhere at all hours of the day or night and yet, if you wanted to leave your job and be a musician, you would likely hear that it is a poor choice and that you can’t make money doing it.

Well, someone is making money from it because it is everywhere. You can, too!

5) Close your ears to what people say

People say all kinds of useless junk. A lot of it makes so little sense that you wonder how anyone in their right mind can talk about of their rear ends like that.

Every single course of action you are going to take, if you told everyone you knew about it, would generate nays from naysayers no matter what it was.

The bottom line is that no one knows your capabilities, creativity and your drive more than you do. You know what you are doing. When naysayers pop up naying, nod your head and keep going. They shut up after they see that you are doing it.

My friend Sally Nutter and I started a radio show. We were amazed at the amount of negativity we received in the first few weeks, but, after we kept at it for a few months, everyone shut up. We now have tons of listeners and get new ones every week. If we gave up at the first sign of negativity, we would not be having the fun we are having right now and it is great fun!

6) Do things you cannot do

I don’t know about anyone else, but I work best under pressure.  I can do anything if I have committed to it. This includes learning something really fast so that I can do it. I have committed to stuff that I have never done before simply because I wanted to do it.

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Many years ago, I taught myself to play the cello. Weirdly and somewhat randomly, some people from the local symphony were walking by and heard me practicing. They asked me right then to play with the symphony for the next season.

I had played violin in orchestras, but never the cello. And I had only been sawing away on the cello for about four months.  “How hard can it be?” I thought. Well, after I printed out the music, I saw exactly how hard it was going to be. I freaked out but then I spent many hours a day working on it and listening to different versions of it over and over again until I knew the music by heart.

Now that was really hard and I will not lightly commit to that again (Or maybe I will!) but guess what? I now play the cello in the symphony. If I had not been such a dork and accepted, I might still be practicing to someday join the symphony.

7) Try learning something completely new

Oh yeah! and then there was the time I took up snowboarding at an advanced age. I had been watching these kids whipping up and down the slopes on their snowboards and I really wanted to do it, too. I spent the whole morning falling, getting up and mostly rolling around like a turtle on its back. Later that day I took a snowboarding class and honestly I don’t think I got any better.

I made it through the day and was completely exhausted. Later that evening I have never been so sore in all my life. After that experience I decided that snowboarding was not going to be one of my new passions. I could have learned it and gotten good at it but honestly I didn’t really care to.

At least now I know that this is not something I love and can put my attention on something else.

8) Lose your heart

I have done this many times. I lose my heart to my students and immediately to people I meet. Most of all I lose my heart when I go visit the animal shelter. I never fail to come home with a new little dog in my arms. I have three now and I love them all.

We are put here on this earth to love each other and to lose our hearts to each other. If we have lost that ability, it just means that we have been hurt a lot. But oddly, losing your heart is the thing that heals you.

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Don’t hold back your affinity. The world needs it and you will be amazed at how rich life is when you love with everything you have.

9) Eat something unusual

I have one rule with regard to food items or those things disguised as food items.

RULE ONE: I never eat anything that I would not willingly step on in my bare feet.

Beyond that everything is fair game! This little rule gets me out of the awkward, “Oh here we are in France, we must try snails!” moment.

Just because someone, at some particularly low period in history ate something strange and then dipped it in garlic butter and called it a delicacy, does not mean that I have to eat it when I am there.

The bottom of my shoe tastes great when dipped in garlic butter, as does a paper towel or anything that has the capacity to soak up garlic butter. Give me some bread. I will happily step on that in bare feet unless it is toasted and carved into a particularly pointy shape. Even then I can do it carefully. Snails? Nope, not even a little bit!

10) Quit thinking up junk to worry about!

I know, we feel better when we worry! at least we know we are alert to possible dangers; but how would it feel to stop worrying just for a moment? Dare we try it? Go ahead, tell yourself it’s all good. I think you could get used to it.

My dad was an engineer, a PHD in fluid dynamics, which is the science of seeing how air flows over airplane wings. He designed aircraft. I flew with him once and he was a nervous wreck. He was convinced that it was only his white knuckles pulling upward on the arm rests that was keeping the plane in the air.

Our worry is not what keeps bad things from happening. It only keeps happiness from happening. Little by little we should just let go. I will if you will! Close your eyes and do it!

Good Luck!

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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