This month, we’re focusing our efforts on being brave—and oftentimes bravery is required most when we’re forced to work outside of our comfort zone. As wedding planners and professionals, we never know what a client is going to want—they may ask for a cake shaped like their dog, or a ceremony-turned-dance-party, or flowers that float in mid-air. Our job is to bring someone’s vision of their Big Day to fruition—and oftentimes this means making the seemingly impossible, possible. Today, then, we’re breaking down our top three tips for working outside of your comfort zone to make that magic happen. Whether it’s partnering up with a vendor you’ve never even heard of, suspending a 20-pound floral arrangement from a finicky ceiling, or working with a design aesthetic you’re not quite comfortable with, read on to learn how to take on those anxiety-inducing challenges like the wedding pro you are.
Don’t Tip Your Hand
We’ve all had this moment: A client asks you to design something really intricate, or a coworker asks that you take on a project you’ve never done, and your very first instinct is to shout from the rooftop, “I have no idea what I’m doing!” While honesty is a great policy, we also happen to think you shouldn’t be so eager to tip your hand and admit to being a total amateur, because chances are you’re actually far more qualified than you’re giving yourself credit for. So maybe you’ve never built a stage from scratch, but that doesn’t mean you’re incapable of doing it. Remember: CEOs don’t become CEOs by saying, “Eh, I’ve never done that before—I’m going to go ahead and sit this one out.” If anything, they take on tasks they know they are uncomfortable or inexperienced with. It’s a little bit bravery, a little bit fake-it-till-you-make-it, and a whole lot of trial and error. But don’t downplay your skills or avoid a task simply because it scares you. Give yourself credit and, as long as you’re able to deliver, it’s OK to keep the fact that the task scares you close to your chest—don’t feel obligated to let clients or coworkers know it’s your first time taking this on.
Remind Yourself of Relevant Experience
Think about any relevant experience you have and how it might apply to the new (somewhat scary) task at hand. Keep in mind this doesn’t have to be exact experience—if we only took on projects we had exact prior experience doing, we’d never grow. The first time you learned to drive a car, after all, you simply had to get behind the wheel and use whatever relevant experience you had (i.e. watching your parents or others drive cars, having a familiarity with the different parts of a car, etc.) and go for it. So, when you’re tasked with something that’s out of your comfort zone, ask yourself: What is the closest thing to this I’ve ever done or seen someone do? Maybe you haven’t designed a wedding ceremony from scratch before, but you’ve certainly been a wedding ceremony, right? And maybe you’ve even interned or worked for a planner who has designed a ceremony from scratch. Start there—what components do you know it needs to have? What things have you seen gone wrong and how can you plan to avoid those?
Arm Yourself with Knowledge
With nearly any answer we seek at our fingertips via the power of this thing called the world wide web (say what?!), there truly is not a task in this world you can’t find a little self-education for on the internet. Think about everything you’ve accomplished thanks to Pinterest or YouTube videos (changing watch batteries, baking a cake made of shredded zucchini, trouble-shooting that glitchy printer of yours, etc.). There’s no reason a work task is any different. From books to blogs to good old’ fashioned phone calls to experts, seek out educational resources before you begin the task at hand. You’ll feel so much more comfortable if you’ve got a little knowledge under your belt before embarking on that out-of-your-comfort-zone assignment.
Hero photo courtesy Jen Wojcik Photography