In her article, “Be The Little Fish! (Why It’s Good To Be Around People Who Are Better Than You)” gen-y blogger, Kayla Cruz, dives into the plus-side of being the worst.

“We stay where we are because we know that going to the next level means that we’ll be at the BOTTOM of the next level…And that’s uncomfortable. Because we’ll be out of our comfort zone and we’ll have to work harder to be the best,” Cruz writes.

Remember when you were an amateur? When you had infinite questions, and made rookie mistakes?

Being amateurish is equally as uncomfortable as it is exciting. On the one hand, you’re constantly grappling with decisions and ideas. But on the other hand, everything is new; you’re learning, adapting, and evolving.

For those of us who prefer less tumultuous times, it can be so enticing to stay the same – especially when we’ve already climbed mountains to get to where we are. But the point Cruz makes so well is that we have to keep learning, keep moving forward, and keep surrounding ourselves with people who will push us to be our best.

If you’re lucky, you work with people who challenge you to be better, to do better (which is the definitely the case at KellyMitchell!).

But what do you do if you’re the expert among amateurs? Who will be there to throw down the gauntlet when you’ve decided to hit autopilot and stay in your comfort zone?

How do you embrace your inner amateur?

When you feel like you’ve hit the ceiling at your job, branch out to find career catalysts outside of your workplace, like:

Professional Organizations: Joining your local chapter of that national organization can connect you with people who do what you do, but in their own unique style. Professional Organizations are great for tapping into experts, mentors, and enthusiasts who can provide you different definitions of experience and success.

Talent Communities: Talent communities are networks of people who share the same goals or interests. Check out online talent communities like Github and Stackoverflow to flex your brain power. Or explore local Meetups to connect with people who can help you re-ignite your passion for your work.

Classroom: Thanks to technology, and the evolution of MOOCs, it’s more convenient than ever to take online coursework. Nerds are curious by nature, and getting back to the classroom can give you a new perspective, shaking up the monotony of daily tasks. Technology has also made simple to find course offerings in your area, so you can meet new and experienced professionals in real life.

Conferences: Getting out of the office for a few days is always a great way to refuel your motivation. Learn how the problems you face are being tackled in different industries, explore new ideas in your field, get the pulse of future trends, and network with people outside of your circle.

When we reach a certain level of experience, it can be tough to remember how it felt to be a rookie. But taking the risk of being the worst can propel you further than you ever imagined. So take a chance, step out of your comfort zone, and let your inner amateur shine.


image modified from Elias Gayles.