3 Lessons You Can Only Learn by Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone
Peg Roessler launched an online course on public relations.

3 Lessons You Can Only Learn by Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

When you’re willing to be a beginner, you open yourself up to many more experiences.

It started with walks down the long corridors of my Minneapolis condo. You see, I stepped out of my comfort zone because I needed to get my winter steps in.

Indoor walking with just my Fitbit to keep me company got a bit monotonous, so I started downloading a wide range of podcasts to pass the time. I guess it’s fair to say I became a bit of a podcast junkie.

It was a sub-zero January day when I stumbled across a podcast on how to create an online course. This was something I’d never really considered before, yet the idea intrigued me. (And it also scared me a little.)

At this point, I’ve been doing public relations behind the scenes for more than 30 years. I’ve represented hundreds of clients, pitched thousands of TV segments, booked tens of thousands of hours of TV coverage, yet never stepped in front of a camera myself.

Could I do it?

I sat with the idea for a while. I listened to others who have created successful online courses. I talked to individuals who might take a course like the one I envisioned. I researched the e-learning industry and learned that it’s projected to grow to $325 billion — yes, billion with a “b”— by 2025, according to Forbes.

The entrepreneur in me was sold.

I fastened my metaphorical seat belt and stepped outside comfort zone — big time. I’m proud to say I did it and learned a few lessons along the way.

1. Seek advice from other pros.

If you’re going to do something brand new, it’s a good idea to find someone with expertise to help you do it. It could be a mentor, a coach or an expert in that particular area.

I found that person in Amy Porterfield. I got to know Amy’s work through her podcast, and decided that if I was going to create an online course, it made sense to learn from someone who’s been teaching others how to do just that for 10-plus years.

So, in a somewhat ironic twist, I bought an online course in how to create an online course.

Amy’s lessons taught me the steps I needed to take to build an online course in a relatively short amount of time — no easy task when you already have a full-time consulting business!

As entrepreneurs, we’re used to being the experts, the ones others turn to for answers. I had to let that go.

2. Reignite your spark.

Entrepreneurs are, by nature, creative.

After all, at some time and place, there was some spark of creativity that made you take the leap into the business you have today. But that spark can dim as the years go by and the daily routine becomes, well, routine.

Don’t be afraid to get your sizzle back.

For me, that meant taking a deep dive into my 30-plus years of wisdom and experience. I was like a chef who never used a recipe, and suddenly had to break out the measuring spoons and ingredient list so I could teach others how to cook up their own PR success.

It was an arduous task. It required a lot of reflection, re-writes and reimagining.

But you know what? It was the very thing that reignited my spark, gave me fresh perspective, and made me even better at my job.

It’s good for all entrepreneurs to do this from time to time. Teach a workshop, take on a mentee, find something that makes you look at what you’ve been doing for years (or in my case, decades!) in a new way.

What’s become routine for you? Find a new way to teach it, to do it, to express it, to sell it.

3. Be willing to be a beginner.

I have 30-plus years of experience and a successful consulting business. And yet, I had to be willing to be a beginner.

This is not exactly easy for a (recovering) perfectionist like me. But what a gift it has been.

I learned a whole new web platform for online courses. I re-built my entire website. I picked up new social media skills, new sales techniques and a renewed appreciation for graphic designers and video editors. And speaking of video….it was quite an act of bravery to step in front of the camera after years and years of being strictly behind-the-scenes!

When you’re willing to be a beginner, you open yourself up to so many more experiences. Yes, it’s humbling at times. But it’s also made me better at what I do every day. It’s connected me to new people and new experiences. It’s helped me refresh my passion for my work.

There’s beauty to be found in creating new things when you’re willing to be a beginner.

Peg Roessler
Roessler Public Relations LLC

Peg Roessler is a gifted public relations professional known for her media relations savvy. Peg’s knack for matching stories to media opportunities puts her clients squarely in the television spotlight, increasing their visibility, credibility and profitability. Peg’s been at helm of Roessler Public Relations for the past 35+ years, and is also the wise and welcoming persona behind A Step by Step Guide to Getting on TV, an online course that teaches small businesses owners and entrepreneurs how to “DIY” their own public relations efforts.