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Push beyond comfort…but beware the panic zone

In 2020 there will rightly be tremendous focus on the Employee Experience (EX). Whether shaping our own (yes we can!) or crafting our team’s experience, Development must command our attention. It’s one of the four pillars we teach in our EX talks and workshops.

So how do we do Development right? Read on…

Lead by example

Well… here goes. Macmillan Publishing has invited me to host a (soon to be renamed!!!!) podcast for them – and I accepted! (My first solo episode of the show, episode #579, is available for a listen as of today!) The show is all about creating your own career success. Today’s episode is about how to self-promote without feeling icky!

I share this news yes – because I’m excited. But also to illustrate this point: the idea of hosting a podcast is – for me – a new challenge. It’s exciting, it’s different, and it will push me creatively. It has not, however, triggered hair loss or an ulcer.

It lives in a realm of push – with some healthy anxiety – but not terror. In other words, for me – this is Development.

So let’s talk about how to create this experience for yourself and/or your team.

Now it’s your turn

I don’t mean go host a podcast. Unless that appeals – in which case go for it! But I do mean find that thing – whether for yourself or members of your team – that creates tingle but not terror.

I love the Three Zone model. The idea is to push outside of the comfort zone to trigger growth. But don’t push so far that you miss the learning zone and land in straight-up anxiety-ville. Looking, for example, to develop yourself as a public speaker? Great. Find an opportunity to host a lunch and learn or speak at your local public library. But don’t start out by seeking a guest spot at the company’s next global Town Hall meeting. That’s a serious leap.

Find the push without the terror. This is where growth and Development happen.

Stay present in learning

Development – authentic Development – isn’t just about the activity itself. It’s about what you take away from an experience in service of learning and growth.

Too many leaders believe that “learning” requires a class or a conference…and a budget to boot.

Learning can certainly happen in a classroom. But we miss so many everyday opportunities to extract learning – and Development – in moments.

If you’re hosting a lunch and learn, ask your boss or a friendly colleague to sit in and give you feedback. Maybe they make you aware of a nervous tick, or highlight an incredible storytelling talent you didn’t realize you had. The real Development happens not just in the speaking, but in extracting insights about the experience; Insights that will enhance your next delivery.

The point is the experience isn’t the end – only the beginning of the Development journey.

And to that end – I will boldly ask all of you… if indeed you give my podcast a listen – will you shoot me some feedback? A helpful critique or even a pointed question goes a long way!

Thanks all. And get developing!