What are we so afraid of?

Remy Kenney

Remy Kenney (IL ’15), corporate relations manager, Dare to Care Food Bank

At some point all of us has seen or heard some variation of the quote “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Everyone is always telling us, if we want to get the most out of life we need to get out of our comfort zones. It seems easy enough. Once I get out of my comfort zone I’ll get that promotion, dream job, meet the love of my life or fill in the blank life event we’ve been searching for. But what does that really mean and how do we do it?!

Mark Lagastee, Vice President of Global Talent and Organization Development for Yum! Brands, shared his leadership story when we visited the Yum! Headquarters for one of our Ignite Louisville program days. His story and experiences really struck a cord with me, as you don’t often hear vice presidents of Fortune 500 companies admit to being scared before going into meetings or struggling with confidence. Along with his real life leadership story, Mark provided some practical advice for getting out of your comfort zone and getting into what he called “The Learning Zone.”

  • Find the courage to take a step in the right direction. Think about what you can do and then just do it!
  • Take a risk. What’s the worst that could happen?
  • Find an accountability partner.
  • Assemble your own personal Board of Directors.

At Yum! Brands they encourage this way of thinking every day and foster an environment where each staff member is challenged to achieve breakthrough results. Yum! has a formula for driving these results (much like a blend of 11 herbs and spices) that are taught to employees in the Yum! University. We got a small peak into this formula in our day at Yum! Brands and have continued to use their techniques as we work on our own nonprofit team projects.

As awkward as it can feel sometimes I’m grateful for the Ignite Louisville program and the staff at the Leadership Louisville Center for pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. Over the past six months I’ve come to realize it wasn’t so comfortable there after all.

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