Step outside your comfort zone

Change is scary. At least, that is what my brain thinks when I think about change. When pushed too far outside my comfort zone I become anxious. Self-doubt creeps in and I tell myself I should not have done something differently or tried something new. My brain lies. Usually, anyway.

This past month I had the opportunity to participate in a AI hackathon for work in Budapest. I signed up without hesitation. AI technology has seemingly exploded within the past six months and has become accessible to those with a basic understanding of it as I had. This would be a great opportunity to learn about AI and learn directly from colleagues using it in production. In addition, my manager is in Budapest and we collaborate with folks in that office so it would be great to connect and network with them.

As the date approached, that resistance to change began to set in:

  • Worry about traveling to a new country where I did not speak the language.
  • Fear that I was not good enough to fit in and participate.
  • Concern that we would not be able to deliver our project and I would be exposed as an imposter.

I was also excited. I was being joined by great co-workers. I wanted to learn more about AI after seeing its applications that truly astounded me. I wanted to travel somewhere that I did not know the language. I wanted to try and build something, even if it was bad or I failed.

My brain lies.

I had a fantastic time. I met colleagues and was able to connect with them in ways that would not be possible strictly through video. I had fun exploring with teammates and will have fond memories of spending time together on this trip. We stumbled at the start of our application building but worked together and had fun building something that actually worked! We learned and grew. Even if we had failed it would have been a great learning experience.

Step outside your comfort zone and try new things every now and again. That is the way we learn and grow. The end result is usually a better you, whether or not it worked out exactly the way you planned.