Career Resources and Coaching for Smart Women

Why Breaking Down in the Grocery Store is Good for Your Career

This weekend I spoke at an amazing women’s leadership retreat in central California.  I have been here for two weeks, I met strong and lovely women, and I felt welcomed and at peace.

I drove home, parked, and then headed off to the grocery store.  And while I was standing in the aisle looking for yogurt, I began to get emotional.  I picked up some cheese, started to get teary-eyed, and put it down and headed off towards the alcohol section where I felt like tears would be more acceptable.

As I was staring at a bottle of sweet white wine (note: I have the palate of a five year old), I realized that I was afraid.  I was truly and deeply afraid of what would happen next.  I had spent the better part of a year working to get here (here: California), shutting down my apartment, saying goodbye to friends, driving across country, bribing people to look at my rental applications, and I had finally arrived.

And now – at least in terms of my business, I could not pretend that I was in transition any more.  No more: “Well, I’ll deal with that after I arrive” or “I can’t look at that now.” Nope – I was here.  This was it.  And I had better start to focus.

The honest truth is that in that moment I was afraid of success. I was afraid that if my dreams have come true (note: my dreams HAVE come true – I’m here!), then what? What will happen for me next?

But here is the cool thing: fear is nothing more than an indication of something big. Something important in your life that is changing, and by doing so, it pushes you out of your comfort zone and makes you grow.  When you feel fear, you are feeling alive. You are feeling possibility, and you are potentially on the edge of euphoria. Have you ever done something really scary, finished, and then said: “That was AMAZING I want to do it again!!”

That feeling is what I am talking about.  The only way to grow in your career is to take risks. Learn a new skill, try a new job, attend a new meeting.  Each time you do that, you expand and grow, and bring something new to your own thinking (and your resume!).

So take a second to honor yourself anytime you are afraid – it means you are onto something.  Even if it happens while grocery shopping! So, I will see YOU in the wine section :).

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