Cookie's a fairly recent addition to our group of friends at the dog park. An immigrant, she was born in India and rescued by her current guardians. Coming to the United States wasn't easy. Cookie spent most of her young life in quarantine, something on the order of four months.
Arriving at a park where she had never been before and being greeted by more dogs than she had ever seen in one place before was, to say the least, a bit traumatic for her. She spent much of that first morning cowering between her guardian's legs and avoiding her new friends.
But Cookie is not a quitter. By the next day, she was sticking her nose out, just a bit, and engaging with the smaller dogs. By the third day she was venturing further away from the protection of her guardian and spending more time getting to know the rest of the pack. Within a week or so, Cookie proved herself completely fearless, eagerly joining the big dogs in their games and completely integrating with her canine pals.
Cookie became a valued member of our group by stepping outside her comfort zone. Interestingly enough, this same issue was discussed in a recent leadership coaching conference I attended. The point made at the conference was exactly that demonstrated by Cookie: to achieve anything requires that you step outside your comfort zone and take risks. This not only helps us grow as leaders but can improve our overall quality of life.
So give it a try. Do one thing today that makes you stretch your talents and makes you just a bit uncomfortable. You never know where it might lead.