Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

A few weeks ago I signed up for a networking cruise along the East River in Manhattan aboard the New York Health & Racquet Club yacht. The event was produced by HRNY, the New York chapter of SHRM, and I was really excited about networking with HR professionals. But I wasn't excited about going on a boat...I've never fared well on the high seas and I wasn't expecting this experience to be any different...I was definitely outside my comfort zone.

But I decided that the value of the event was greater than my fear and I made the decision (sans Dramamine) to attend. And I'm so glad I did because I was privy to some amazing conversations and industry debates including the pros and cons of being an HR specialist versus an HR generalist, the future of the video resume, new benefits programs that target boomers, and strategies for creating more meaningful candidate interviews.

The point is this. Each time we prepare for a networking event, there is always some little voice inside of us that says "Is it worth it to go to this event," "I'd rather stay home and watch TV," "I'm only going to stay for an hour," etc. etc. There's always a feeling that you may be stepping outside your comfort zone. That's ok. Push past the discomfort and attend. You will meet people who can help you in your search or general career development and you will capture some golden nuggets of information that will help you either personally or professionally. Just get on the boat, relax, and enjoy the ride.

As for me, not only did I walk away from the cruise with some great new contacts and information, but I really did overcome my previous fear of boats. And while I'm not booking a cruise to Bermuda anytime soon, I certainly feel that I have grown personally as well as professionally from the event.

How do you overcome your fears around attending networking events?



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