Admit it. You thought we are going to say ‘’Update your CV’’. ‘’Apply for work experience’’. ‘’Work your butt off’’. ‘’Swap the bar for the library’’. ‘’Be more careful with money’’.
Okay, technically you should really be doing all these things.
However, the one thing you should do this year that could change your life, is this.
Do something amazing. Something truly personally challenging. Something that pushes you right outside your comfort zone.
‘But why’, we hear you ask? ‘I work hard all year. Why should I jump out of a plane or work in an African village? I want to sit on a plane and be transported to a nice beach somewhere to relax’.
Because your career could depend on it, that’s why.
It’s always been thought that your student years are the time to rebel, push boundaries, become politically active, join groups and societies, be vocal and opinionated, follow your dreams and have an adventure. Doing so is a crucial part of your self-development, personal growth, discovering who you are and what you want to be. And let’s be honest, a nice extracurricular footnote on your job applications.
But the evidence shows it’s more than that.
In research carried out by CEMS (The Global Alliance in Management Education), the ability of professionals to demonstrate their willingness to push themselves outside of their comfort zone is one of the qualities most key to career growth, according to 61% of HR Managers.
HR Managers at global recruiters interviewed were also shown to very much value the gaining of a broad experience and networking as contributing factors in building a successful career. Again, going outside of your comfort zone. After all, the vast majority of professionals will find their first foray into networking a nerve-wracking experience.
But what else does stepping outside of your comfort zone do?
It demonstrates a willingness to try. Determination and ambition. And it will help you to build confidence, courage, resilience.
In a risk-averse technology driven world, resilience is an underestimated and some would argue, declining quality. But surviving the interview process, ongoing assessment, competition, influencing, negotiating and leadership are all based on resilience.
And they may all impact on your dream career.
So why wait until you are in that first or second job? Show that resilience now. Push that boundary now. Let potential recruiters know that when it comes to working outside of your comfort zone, you’re more than up to the challenge.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a parachute jump. Or travelling to a far flung country (although cultural experiences can be extremely enriching and rewarding).
It could be joining in a debate. Starting a new sport. Attending a networking or careers event. Or putting forward a business idea to a Young Entrepreneur’s Society.
In other words, don’t hold back. Push yourself to the brink of success… and over it. Good luck!