Writing this article/blog/whatever this is, truly isn’t my thing. When I received the prompt that it was my turn to post something this month my first thought was “Yikes!” Writing is hard work for me so naturally I put off this assignment as long as I could. But the deadline looms and my responsibility strength kicks into gear and I get it done.
So why did I ever say I would do this in the first place? Because this opportunity to put some thoughts into words pushes and challenges me to grow in new ways and I never want to stop learning and growing. This attitude of continuously wanting to learn and grow keeps me teachable and somewhat humble (since it is such a challenge and I don’t necessarily feel like I do it well). When we’re in the same old rut, we get stuck in our assumptions, our thinking, our paradigms, our patterns. When we step outside our comfort zone and say yes to life-stretching opportunities we learn something new about ourselves, learn something new about others, and learn something new about God.
Last fall I was invited to gather with a group of women that I hadn’t ever met for a long weekend. The experience was positioned as a “Mastermind Retreat for Hope-Bearers” and was called the Open Door. Intriguing? Yes! But outside my comfort zone? Yes–especially when I learned that everyone else was much younger and in the early stages of forming their families and careers. I, on the other hand, was the “older, wiser?” one, aka, mentor voice. These women could be my daughters. What did I have to offer the group? What did I have to learn? I could have easily said “no” to this experience, but because I never want to stop learning and growing, I said “yes.” One of the best decisions of my life.
Because I said yes to the Open Door Retreat, I learned something new about myself. Like others want to hear what I have to say about personal branding (I thought everybody knew that). Like others are interested in learning about their strengths and that I can facilitate a decent discussion and experience around that topic. Like others can be encouraged by my ongoing journey with stage 4 breast cancer.
Because I said yes to the Open Door Retreat, I learned something new about others. Like there are amazing women who love Jesus and appear on cooking shows and home appliance commercials. Like there are women challenging other women to share their faith with abandon. Like there are women who share the same insecurities and challenges that I do that actually do an AMAZING job of writing and speaking about these issues.
Because I said yes to the Open Door Retreat, I learned something new about God. Like He is way bigger than the box I tend to put him in on a daily basis. That He can connect hearts in a deep, meaningful way in just four short days. That He truly has a purpose and plan for each one of us. OK, that wasn’t really new learning because I’ve always known and believed in God’s purpose and plan for each of us but I experienced the community of sisterhood in such a profound way that I saw it fresh through the eyes of 11 new friends.
When have you recently stepped out of your comfort zone? What have you said “yes” to that keeps you growing and learning? What has God taught you about yourself? Others? Himself? I’d love to hear about it.
Janis Kugler is the President of Facet Consulting Group based in Littleton, Colorado. She consults with local and international ministries and nonprofits around branding, strategic planning and development. She is a certified StrengthsFinder coach able to work with teams and individuals. When not working, Janis is traveling the globe with her family. You can find her at facetconsultinggroup.com.