Reflection is Important for Growth – Three Lessons

Sometimes you have to take a step back and reflect on things in your life to gain better perspective. It wasn’t until the last week or so that I truly reflected on 2012 and the path to change I put myself on. This reflection has been really important for me and I have come up with three important lessons.

“Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it” – Ferris Bueller

When I left my job to learn Ruby on Rails at The Starter League I was looking to learn something new, have a change of pace, and launch myself into Chicago’s tech scene. I’m proud to say I accomplished all three of those things. I was ready for that challenge, so to me, the swiftness of my career change didn’t seem like a big deal. Apparently for others it was. A lot of people told me I was crazy and that in “this economy” I shouldn’t do something like quitting my job. To many it seemed like a rash, poorly thought out decision. But it wasn’t a poorly thought decision. I make calculated decisions that are thought out, and when the time is right, I raise my risk tolerance and go for it.

This brings me to my three lessons:

#1: TRUST YOUR GUT

Sometimes decisions aren’t calculated by data or logical reasoning. Sometimes you need to trust your gut feeling on a situation and go with it. There were no guarantees with The Starter League program and no job offer waiting for me at the end of those 11 weeks. My gut feeling told me it would all work out and it did for so many reasons. If you get that feeling in your gut, follow it.

#2: IF PEOPLE SAY YOUR IDEA/PLAN IS CRAZY THEN YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT

Working inside 1871 and learning at The Starter League has allowed me to meet really inspiring people. I’ve heard stories from people who have founded companies, people who are starting companies, and 100’s of cool ideas. They get told by a lot of people that they are crazy, either for the idea or their pursuit of it. A lot of my classmates at The Starter League were told they were crazy for what they were doing, just as I was. Let that serve as validation that you are doing something right. 

So if you quit your job to do something new and there are no guarantees after it, good for you. You are on the right path to doing something great with your life.

#3: GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Change is hard. People naturally want to feel comfortable and resist change. Great things happen when you break out of that and do things you aren’t comfortable doing. This can be summed up with one great visual representation:

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So, give yourself a few hours every week to look back and reflect. It will help you grow as a person and serve you well in the future. Now, go do something great today.