June 22, 2016 — We’re often presented with opportunities both in our personal and professional lives that force us to step outside of our comfort zones. Defining moments like these reveal a lot about who we are as individuals and ultimately shape the trajectory of our futures. When we take risks in our careers, and stretch the limits of our comfort zones, we open ourselves up to greater opportunities.
Early in my career, I noticed that my male peers often had more confidence when it came to giving presentations at work, asking for time off, or challenging a request. Observing these moments left me peeved.
For example, the first time I ever mustered up the courage to ask for a raise, I was turned down by my boss. Not only did she reject my request, but she cited my young age as the reason to not grant me a raise. It was the first time I experienced ageism or blatant discrimination. My self-confidence hit an all-time low. Luckily, I didn’t dwell too long on this experience, and eventually realized that taking risks was a numbers game, in the sense that the more I tried, the more chances I had to succeed.
One of the biggest risks that returned the most reward was my decision to change jobs. I took a leap of faith and moved from an advertising agency to a digital strategy team at a bank. This was definitely foreign territory for someone who had never worked in such a corporate environment. Was I nervous? Yes! Was the work culture different? Absolutely!
When I first started in my new role, there were countless times when I questioned myself and my decision. I experienced the “imposter syndrome” on a daily basis and felt like I had to speak a certain way, dress a certain way, and act differently than who I am. Eventually, those feelings subsided. I found my stride and really started to enjoy my work. The biggest reward of making this career transition was the realization that I was not only doing the job that best matched my qualifications, but I had been given this job because people believed in my potential. Furthermore, my role gives me the opportunity to garner new skills, navigate a large corporation with a sense confidence, and change my perspective on taking risks.
Challenging yourself to be comfortable with the uncomfortable is critical. It will ultimately help you grow—presenting greater and bigger opportunities along the way.
Confidence and the ability to take more risks are the key focus points at the Filling the Gap event on June 23 at Google Canada. Our keynote speaker is Imogen Coe, the Dean of Science at Ryerson University. Inspirational women from around the world will lead our workshops. All ticket proceeds go to the Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, which is an organization that offers legal representation, professional counseling, and multilingual interpretation to women who have experienced abuse. Learn more details about the event here.