Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Challenges and Changes

The dream is slowly becoming a reality. A little over a week ago, I was offered the opportunity to work as a content manager for a travel marketing company. My initial reaction? Pure terror.

I know, it doesn't make any sense. For years I've been dreaming of this moment, the chance to work in the travel industry. And more accurately, in the travel writing and content creation side of it. This is exactly what I've been waiting for. So why did my stomach leap two feet into my throat? Why did the butterflies continue to whip around uncontrollably for hours? Why did tears sting the corner of my eyes?

One word: Fear.

I've been living in a comfortable bubble the last two and a half years. I like my job, and I know how to do it well. I like the people I work with, and I have a wonderful, supportive team that looks to me for direction. I have a daily routine that keeps me centered and organized. It's safe, it's predictable--for the most part--and there isn't much to challenge me. But this new job will change all that.

There was a brief moment where I considered turning it down, staying put and continuing down the same road I've been on. But then reality set in, and I knew that this was a chance I had to take, this was an opportunity that would not only let me do what I'm passionate about, but could also open more doors in the future. Why would I even think about passing it up?

So I accepted.

And ever since I've been unable to shake this uneasy feeling. I know it's nerves. Fear of change, of a new team, a new routine, new challenges. But mostly, it's fear of making a mistake. What if I can't do the job? What if the client doesn't like me? What if I fail? What if I make the wrong move? What happens then?

I've felt this way before, and it usually accompanies major life decisions: college, graduate school, my first job, serious relationships. It's called being pulled out of your comfort zone because you're meant to feel uncomfortable. When you take a risk, it's only natural to wonder if it's right, if it will really get you to where you want to go. It's one of life's cruel incongruities. Something that is meant to elicit joy and assurance, actually makes you feel sick to your stomach.

So how do you shake the feeling?

Face it head on. Tackle the challenge with enthusiasm, determination and confidence. I plan to start this job on the right foot, diving right in and showing that I am the best person for the position. This will help ease my worries and squash my fears. And, in the long run, will help me grow in my professional and personal life. It will get me to where I want to be.

My recent inspiration came after watching this TED talk from Roz Savage. She was also just floating along in a comfortable job, where she probably would have stayed for many years had she not realized it would not lead her to the life she wanted.

And then I saw this talk from Ben Saunders, a modern-day explorer who will attempt to journey to the South Pole and back. In his talk, he answers the question, Why bother leaving the house? Obviously, my job opportunity is very different from what he does, but the concept of taking on a challenge is the same.

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