Photo by Adam Wheeler
Since starting to work for Connect the Grey, I've done a lot of things that I would consider to be outside of my comfort zone. But from those experiences, I've learned that the comfort zone is an expandable, if intangible, entity.
One zone-expanding activity I've done a few times now is attending various workshops, programs, and conferences on my own as a representative of CtG. During the Twin Cities Startup Week conference last summer, I attended a session hosted by the organization 1 Million Cups, and I happened to walk in to the building at the same time as another woman, about my age. She introduced herself as Maggie, and we got to talking. We were both unsure of what the session was about and not really feeling completely at home in the situation, and ended up sitting by each other.
Eventually we discovered that we both live in the same pretty little suburb outside of Minneapolis, which is a rare find, since most single people our age still live in the city. She is an entrepreneur, so on a whim, I invited her to be a part of our creativEcosphere program, which helps people work on early-stage ventures. A couple of months later, she joined our Thursday night cohort. All because of one chance meeting.
A couple of weeks ago, Maggie presented her business, MB Grief Recovery, at Session 6 of creativEcosphere. As people gave her advice and she talked through what have been some of the more difficult aspects of her business, I thought about how arbitrary and serendipitous life can seem sometimes. We make hundreds of choices every day, and we never know how life could have turned out if we had done things a different way. Had I decided I was feeling too unsure of myself to attend Startup Week, or had I decided to go to a different session than the one 1 Million Cups was hosting, I would never have met Maggie, which means I wouldn't have made a friend who lives a ten-minute bike ride from me, nor would she had been the valuable part of our entrepreneur cohort that she is today. It is an excellent reminder of the benefits of taking chances and challenging myself; sometimes it can be uncomfortable, but it almost always leads to something good as a result.