By Mary Ann Faremouth,
When I was a young career consultant in the early 1980s, I attended a Zig Ziglar seminar and was impressed with his discussion on “the three Cs of Life: Choices, Chances, Changes. You must make a choice to take a chance, or your life will never change.”
This quote from Ziglar has always resonated with me and reminds me of the third step of the Faremouth Method: “Step Out of Your Comfort Zone.” Reflecting on my life, I have found that stepping out of my comfort zone is almost part of my DNA. Many of the choices I have made, which include leaving behind a secure job with a Big Three automaker and moving from the small town of my close-knit Italian family to the much bigger, sprawling arena of H-Town, have demonstrated my willingness to walk the talk of the third step of the Faremouth Method. Looking at more recent events along these same lines, I had an experience in 2016–2017 that really demonstrated Ziglar’s “three Cs of Life” in the New Work World.
There are many similarities between the marketplace of that time and what we are now experiencing in the New Work World. There was much uncertainty in the job market, and many changes were happening in many different directions. At the time, I decided to join Toastmasters International, local groups of which would meet once a week to work on presentation and leadership skills. I thought the support, training, and connection with others would be a positive step for me, allowing me to grow and develop in my personal and professional life and make a positive contribution to others.
The club I joined had been around for thirty-four years and would soon be celebrating their thirty-fifth anniversary. I enjoyed learning so many wonderful new skills and soon decided to take on a minor role in the leadership of the group. Six months after I joined, the group’s president, who had been out of work for almost a year, got an offer he couldn’t refuse for a job in another city. We were all very happy for him, but president was a big role to fill, and at the time, no one wanted to step into it.
After a couple of weeks without a club president, I was pulled aside by a long-tenured senior leader I considered a mentor. “Mary Ann, why don’t you step into the role of president? I believe you can do it, and I will help you.”
“Me?” I’d responded, staring at him. “Are you serious? I’ve only been a member for six months.”
It was a big club with many senior members. I loved all the people in the group and enjoyed the many activities the club offered its members, but being its president was a role I wasn’t sure I was ready to take on. But my mentor kept telling me how much he believed in me. He believed I had the skills for the role since I was a career coach who mentored and advised others, I always arrived early and stayed late, and I seemed to be well liked by the other people in the club. He felt I could learn what I didn’t know in a timely manner and would keep the group cohesive, which was important for the club and its members. And he made sure to let me know he would help me with the role in a big way.
So there I was, a rookie, six-month member of a prestigious group that was about to celebrate a huge event for their thirty-fifth anniversary, and I had a big decision to make: did I take on the role of president or not?
And just like that, I remembered Ziglar’s words from the training seminar: I had to make a choice to take a chance that could really change my life.
I decided to go for it, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made! Did I make a few mistakes along the way and deal with a few hiccups? Yes, I did. Did I learn and grow from them? You bet I did.
Let’s look at some of the lessons I learned that coincide with Zig Ziglar’s teachings and how they could be powerful lessons for all of us in the New Work World.
- “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
We can give a million reasons why we shouldn’t do something or take on a role, just as I used my limited experience as an argument against taking on the role of club president. However, if I hadn’t tried, I would have never gained the valuable skills that have served me well in my personal and professional life going forward. What could you start that might be a bit intimidating but could provide you with great training? Is there a Toastmasters, Rotary, or other volunteer role you could investigate? With the use of video-conferencing software by many organizations due to current challenges, location is no longer the problem it once was, which opens up a wider range of possibilities. If you keep telling yourself no, you will never know what you are really capable of doing!
- “You can have everything in life that you want if you just give enough other people what they want.”
The role I took on as club president was all about helping others grow and expand in their presentation and leadership skills. It was demanding, tense at times, and even a bit scary when I had to sit down with a twenty-year member and assist them with a problem they were having in the club. But by taking time and devoting extra effort to help the club thrive, I learned many valuable skills that allowed me to grow and develop in ways I had never imagined would be available to me. Is there someone in your circle you could mentor or an online group you could join where your skillset might help others during these challenging and changing times?
- “Attitude, not aptitude, determines altitude.”
The attitude I held in taking on this high-level role was one of excitement and determination to succeed. I’m sure the senior members of the group could feel my sincere desire to lead the club, and we achieved much together as a group. What might you have a strong passion for or interest in that would allow you to reach great heights in your career or personal life? You are the pilot of your own life. You can take yourself way above any clouds if you navigate your mindset with a strong, positive determination to achieve great heights and help others do the same.
- “Failure is an event, not a person.”
Don’t let fear of failure dissuade you from taking on a new role, new position, or new industry. Failure is just an event, not the person who experiences it. And we can learn from our failures. From the failures I experienced as club president, I polished my problem-solving skills and learned things about myself I never would have without the experience. So often, we let fear of failure detour us from trying something new. Our comfort zone urges us to stay as we are without any chance of failing. But we never grow if we are held hostage to our comfort zones.
So make the choice to take a chance that could change your life in the New Work World. Step out of your comfort zone and help someone along the way. Investigate groups, associations, online classes, and volunteer organizations that could help you grow and, best of all, could let you help others. Align yourself with positive momentum and purpose to make this world we live in a better place!
Mary Ann Faremouth
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.