Push yourself. Stretch yourself. Get outside of your “comfort zone.”

At several points in your career, you’ll be faced with a critical choice: grow or stagnate. The path you take will be largely determined by your willingness to take critical new roles that stretch you. Challenge you. And, frankly, make you a little uncomfortable.

Whether you seek a promotion, a new assignment, or a job with a different organization, here are four ways to get out of your comfort zone – and grow your career as an executive:

Stay current. Our industry changes every day. To keep pace, commit to continual learning and to keeping an open mind. Follow thought leaders’ blogs. Join LinkedIn discussion groups related to your specialty. Talk to other professionals who challenge your thinking. Learn more about the hot (and, yes, controversial) issues that are shaping today’s food & beverage trends. In short, do whatever you can to stay on top of new developments in your field – and ahead of your competition.

Be willing to make mistakes. Career growth requires risk. And when you take risks, you sometimes fail. Every successful person will tell you, however, that it’s only by trying new things (and occasionally making mistakes) that you can accomplish more.

Face your weaknesses head-on. Then do something about them! Given the wide variety of work in the food & beverage industry, you’ll inevitably find some aspects of your job that don’t come naturally. Instead of shying away from those areas, focus on developing proficiency in them. Educate yourself, cross-train or get help from a trusted mentor. Grow as a professional by turning your weaknesses into areas of strength.

Adopt an “if it’s meant to be, it’s up to me” mentality. The days when companies were responsible for pushing employees outside of their comfort zones is over. Your organization may very well have a development program in place, but the ultimate responsibility for your career growth lies with you. Don’t wait for your boss to approach you and say, “It’s time we took your career to the next level.” Take control of your own destiny, and seek out those opportunities that stretch you and facilitate growth.

Kinsa Group is here to help. For more than 25 years, we’ve provided the challenging opportunities and career guidance executives like you need to grow and thrive. We’ll learn about your goals, aspirations, strengths and weaknesses – and help you chart a path for career success. Contact a Kinsa recruiter today or search executive food & beverage jobs here.

For more career growth advice, read these earlier posts on how to proactively manage your food & beverage career or get the food & beverage promotion you deserve.

2 Responses to “Get Outside Your Food & Beverage Career “Comfort Zone””

  1. David Brewster

    While it is certain that much more opportunity exists outside of one’s comfort zone than in it, my experience has usually been that, when seeking employment at almost any level above beginner, it is pretty important to be able to demonstrate a successful comfort zone of experience that closely relates to the opportunity being pursued. I overcame that by starting my own business which stretched my comfort zone – meaning expanded the edges of where my experience could/should take me, but not by moving very far outside of my comfort (credible experience)zone. Trying to find new employment outside of and significantly above current experience is a great challenge indeed whether it’s up to me or up to a mentor — is my experience.
    Any thoughts about this perplexing issue? For example, if I (an experienced foodservice design consultant) were to decide I wanted to be a gourmet chef next, how could I do that without training or experience unless I bought my own restaurant and went all in? My opinion is that that would be too far out of my comfort zone to even consider.
    Just asking.


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