Carol’s Corner
Welcome to Carol’s Corner, a blog where I riff on some of the topics that interest me (or keep me up at night) and hopefully will be of help to you! For more, please check out my column on BizCatalyst 360°!

Comfort Zone-Out

“I don’t think you need another piece of bread,” my Great Aunt announced disapprovingly at the dinner table one summer evening.

Is Your Energy Split?

The other day I was reflecting on the origin story for my business (which actually started decades before the birth of my business) and realized how often my energy was split.

But, What Do you DO?

Recently I talked with a Gen X woman who asked about what I do in my mentoring sessions.

Oh the Possibilities!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about possibilities in life and business.

The Beauty of Surrender

After I left corporate to strike out on my own, something interesting happened.

The Fan Club

Few things are as powerful in a young girl’s life as her first celebrity crush.

“I don’t think you need another piece of bread,” my Great Aunt announced disapprovingly at the dinner table one summer evening. My arm was in mid-reach to the bread basket, but instinctively recoiled. She said it loud enough for everyone to hear, but the other 6 people at the table paid no mind as they were involved in their own conversations and guiltlessly chewing on their bread. Unsolicited advice is one of those oh-so-human things that, as adults, we tend to put up with, figuring that the other party “means well” and quite frankly, most of the time it’s a not worth getting worked up about. As a kid though, one sharp comment had me willing my tear ducts to shut down until I could escape to my room. I don’t know what was worse, being bread-shamed or being shamed for crying over being bread-shamed. Today I would simply say “maybe not, but I’m having it anyway,” take an exaggerated bite and give her a wink.

But there’s one piece of unsolicited advice that still gets on my nerves because it usually comes from people who don’t know me well: the dreaded “you need to get out of your comfort zone.” Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe in the benefits of change and that it leads to learning and personal growth. But I find it interesting that often, when someone urges me to get out of my comfort zone, one, they don’t know enough about my life story to give this advice (which is chock-full of scary growth-inducing moments, thank you very much), and two, they’re almost always suggesting that I do something that’s in their comfort zone. I’m left with the latent message “you’re not good enough, interesting enough, smart enough (fill in the blank) unless you do this thing that I deem will benefit you.” How dare they?

Am I being facetious? A little. Am I overreacting? Maybe. In truth, this is the kind of thing that has caused me to shut down, zone out, or worse—create a wall that wasn’t there before. I hear the same sentiments from friends, co-workers, and coaching clients. In a world where genuine connection is hard to come by, advising someone on how to better themselves before you even know their pet’s name is a dicey proposition at best.

All of this said, I do feel that most people are coming from a good place. But if we don’t know our audience, it lands as well as the “I don’t think you need another piece of bread” comment. Plainly put, unless asked, when it comes to comfort zones, personal growth, or an extra serving of carbs, let’s kindly mind our beeswax.