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Stepping outside of your comfort zone

Why is stepping outside of our comfort zone so rewarding? Do we really need to get uncomfortable to have the most growth?

Over the course of the last year, I have stepped outside of my comfort zone more than I may have in my entire life. I became a first-time mom, giving birth in the middle of my Master’s degree, in the middle of a pandemic. Nearing the end of my degree I also landed the placement of my dreams… Collective Results. I was equally excited as I was nervous. Would I succeed? Would I meet the expectations of such an experienced team of professionals?

While this year of change has come with its share of stress, uncertainty, and more than a few sleepless nights (thanks 4-month sleep regression), it has also been one of the most rewarding. There were many long days, balancing both new motherhood, a full-time course load and my first professional experience in a public health setting. However, this is also where I experienced the most growth. These experiences taught me perseverance, multitasking, and most importantly, knowing when to ask for help. It is true when they say, “it takes a village”.

Fortunately for me, I had an amazing village both in my personal life and in my placement experience. From my first day at Collective Results I felt valued and supported in my learning journey. I gained important fundamental skills in qualitative and quantitative analysis, knowledge dissemination, and evaluation design. Even more invaluable, I have had the privilege to learn skills like collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and leadership from an immensely talented team of public health professionals.

In the past, I can say I have always been more conservative, only wanting to begin something I thought I already mastered the skills to perform. I cannot count how many times I said to myself “I’m not sure how I am going to do this, but I’ll figure it out when I get there,” over the past year, and I have gained so much in doing so. Maybe there are some things that we can’t gain inside of our comfort zone that make all of the nerves and uncertainty worth it.

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