After I started my journey with Purple Filter last year, having said “OK, bye” to a cushy job and a steady income, I found myself giving this advice to a lot of my friends and juniors: “Your comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there.” I was speaking from experience. After all, I had left a full-time job to set up my own company and I was absolutely loving it.
Looking back now, I realise that I owe my success as an entrepreneur to all the managers and co-workers who had made my life difficult as well as, eventually, easy. I have come to understand why a corporate experience was essential for me. I had always wanted to do something on my own; little did I know, however, that I was learning at work not only how to be a good social media manager but also how to manage my own life.
Back in 2012, when I was fresh out of college having graduated with a master’s degree in media and marketing communication, I was still clueless about what I wanted to do. Which is why, without worrying in the least about the outcome, I took up whatever came my way. It was only last year, with about five years of work experience under my belt and after having learnt some important life lessons the hard way, that I got the confidence to do something that I had always wanted to do by applying Apple’s famous slogan, “Think different”.
I am truly grateful to my corporate mentors, especially Manu Prasad, for providing me with an extremely challenging work environment. Manu was a tough manager — sarcastic almost 100% of the time but often surprisingly considerate too. I felt terrible, cheated even,when he decided to move on to a better job at a time when I had become comfortable working with him and was feeling very productive on a daily basis.
After Manu’s departure, I found myself in a situation where I was no longer waiting for him to approve my tweets, correct my grammar, or be the bad cop to get work done. I had to manage it all on my own, and, increasingly, it seemed to me that my daily workload had been transformed into a herculean task. Today, though, I can appreciate Manu’s hands-off approach. It was only when he left me on my own to deal with a job I didn’t know well that I could sense myself growing.
Also, I had never cared too much about job titles or even raises. It was only later that I understood how important those things are as well. However, I am glad I worked hard to get better at my job every day by pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone and asking, demanding, leading, and taking responsibility for my actions.
Manu’s exit from my life made me an independent thinker and I will forever be thankful to him in this regard. I cannot express deeply enough how much love, respect, and admiration I have for him. Thank you, Boss! 🙂
Moving on (as one should always do), let me get into fast-forward mode. Today, I am a social media marketing consultant for brands as well as individuals. Sure, I have suffered the pangs of uncertainty. There was a time not long ago when I used to worry about how I was going to arrange to pay the next month’s rent, take care of my bills, or send money back home. Today, the situation is much better. I feel I am growing as a person with each passing day. There is definitely no looking back, and I see the road ahead as my opportunity.
This is my vision for 2018. I have pushed myself in recent days to share my lessons and professional journey with others. I recently gave my first public talk, at UpGrad Xchange, on “Why Every Brand Needs a Social Media Strategy”. I was really anxious about this one because I had never spoken to more than 40 people in a room before and my experience up to that point had been limited to weekly marketing meetings. Today, I am happy to have invested in myself. It is definitely harder than what I had expected it to be but I am eager to learn and GROW.
Do you have a story to share about what happened when you left your comfort zone? Do share it with us in the comments section.
On my part, I am going to keep documenting my learnings via this section and will definitely want to hear yours too.
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