Personal development is not an option; it is a necessity.

“Growth and comfort do not coexist”

– Ginni Rometty

In my short career, I’ve worked with many different individuals. A lot of characters, really. Of those that I’ve worked with, there was one fellow who was a very good friend of mine. He started out working for the company much like many young adults do, through the company’s internship program. At the time of his graduation, he was brought onboard to the company as a full-time salary worker. Just a few short months later, he came across an opportunity with another employer – which he decided to take. As common courtesy would suggest, he submitted his 2 weeks notice to his boss. Near the end of his employment within the company, he and I were having discussions about the move he decided to make, and some of the reasons as to why he felt it was the best move for his career growth. He had his reasons – and they were valid. But there was one moment in his last few days that stood out to me the most. He handed me a sticky note, and written on it was a quote that I had never previously heard. It was the quote written above at the opening of this post. “Growth and comfort do not coexist.”

That sticky note is pinned to my cubicle wall to this day. Every day that I look at it is another day that I remind myself that there will always be opportunities available to me that will challenge me further than the task that I’m currently charged with. And that is exactly what that quote means in a nutshell! If you are looking to create a better life for yourself, you have to be willing to take on challenges that push you beyond your comfort zone. As some of you read this, you might think its taboo for me to discuss being motivated by a former co-worker who took another job. But to put any questioning minds at rest – no, I am not considering leaving my employer. Growth and personal development are well within the boundaries of my current employer.

The words left behind by my former co-worker really resonated with me. Since then, I’ve found myself contemplating what my next move might be. Too many times I’ve been at my job going through the motions, completing work that needed to be done. And that is completely necessary: every position anywhere (unless you’re in management) has mindless work that gets done simply because it needs to be. Though, while I sit there completing my daily tasks and ‘going through the motions,’ I can’t help but think that there is always a better opportunity for me available. And it might not arrive for a few years. But just knowing that there is always something better around the corner, which I know that I’m more than capable of achieving, gives my daily work life some purpose. Through fully understanding the words presented above – “Growth and comfort do not coexist” – I understand that the road ahead for the next few decades of my career will be tough, but I can honestly say that it’s something to look forward to.

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