Find the courage to leave your comfort zone & find a passion

By Mimi Nicklin
Fear holds us all back at some point in life – but there are ways to overcome it. Mimi Nicklin, Founder and Chief Executive of Freedm, explains how

Embracing discomfort isn’t something that humans are very comfortable doing. Putting ourselves in new situations can often trigger our primal fight or flight response, which isn’t exactly the best reaction if we’re hoping to foster ground-breaking innovations and thinking. 

But it's often said that when you’re older, you look back on your lives and question the things you didn’t do. Finding the courage to chase your passions is an empowering move towards being who you truly want to be and building the life you want to live. 

As a child I knew I wanted to follow a career path that was built on ideas and writing, and saw the world of advertising as a way to combine my passions with my skillsets. I enrolled at university and clearly planned my entry into the industry via one of London’s top three graduate programmes. In that way, my career was entirely planned. 

But over time, I began to follow the opportunities that didn’t fit within a set path and chased opportunities that allowed me to move across the world. In the end, I made the decision to leave the comfort of a defined career path behind and launched my own business, Freedm, which I run remotely as a nomadic CEO currently based in Malaysia. 

Taking a leap of faith

Leaving your comfort zone can be scary and isn’t without its challenges, but it can change your life. So what tips would I give to anyone who is looking to reinvent their life and chase their passions?

Firstly, be curious. Ask yourself questions and focus on the vision and the journey of your next chapter. Is there something you really want to do, such as moving countries, starting a business, or changing jobs? Are there any opportunities that you currently know of that would allow you to do it? If not, take some time to research the steps that are involved – such as visa requirements for new countries or skill requirements for new jobs – and think about what would it take for you to make this change.

Then, set yourself goals that you can visualise. Write them down or make a vision board if that helps you, but make sure that you know what it is you are wanting to achieve in very clear terms. You have probably come across SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals if you’ve been in an interview situation recently, but it can also help here with defining your objectives and establishing a plan to accomplish them. 

However, it’s important not to get too tied to a place or a timespan. As with anything in life, situations can change, and how your comfort zone looks now might differ in a year or two’s time. Putting yourself out there to seek new opportunities and chase your passions will foster personal growth regardless of its direction.  

And finally, think about how much discomfort you’re willing to embrace to reach your goals. Different dreams will have different thresholds, so it’s a good idea to identify any ways for you to test the boundaries which don’t seem too scary. 

For example, launching your own business could mean you have to change how you use social media. Enrolling in online courses to learn more about digital advertising and data analysis can help you become more confident with these new parts of your job, as can asking your close friends to support you with promoting and following a new account advertising your new venture. 

Making the move

Alternatively, changing industries is likely to require you to reach out to new people and build a wider, more targeted network through social media connections or by attending in-person networking events. Meeting new people can, for many of us, feel like a daunting task, but channelling any nerves you may be feeling into actions like creating a one-line introduction for yourself can help you to embrace the discomfort and come out feeling more confident and more connected.  

Stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t easy. But then again, it shouldn’t be. The challenge is what helps us to grow. Take the first step and be brave because when you look back, you’ll see how far you’ve come. 

Mimi Nicklin is the Founder and Chief Executive of Freedm, an empathy advocate & best-selling author of Softening the Edge.


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