Step Out of Your Comfort Zone in 2018

Craig Harris, MEPAA

We are thrilled to introduce our very first guest blog of 2018 from Craig Harris, MEPAA, Executive Assistant at Shelter UK and Pitman's Super Achiever PA of the Year 2017.

WOW, New Year already? That can’t be right……can it?

So, we’ve all had our fair share of turkey sandwiches, drunk way too much mulled wine at the Christmas party and pulled off the “big day” like it was a military operation. Now it’s time to sit back, reflect on the year and think about what we envisage for the year ahead.

I won’t lie, I entered 2017 a little apprehensive. I had decided to make a move from a role I had loved working in, with a boss that had supported me through my development as an assistant and I was having those doubts that we all have about change. It was challenging to start off with and scary moving jobs. I had gone from knowing everyone and having a great knowledge of my organisation, to being back at square one and being the new guy.

I didn’t want to be put off by my self-doubts though, so I started putting together plans to increase my knowledge of the organisation and prove to myself that the choice to move was a good one. It’s been tough and at times really challenging, but thankfully it didn’t take me long to settle in and things have been going great ever since.

My confidence also took a little boost earlier in the year when I was lucky enough to be awarded PA of year by the Pitman SuperAchievers awards. I couldn’t believe it and was honoured to have been a finalist, let alone a winner! The award is something that I am still, and always will be, so proud of.

Winning the award gave me the confidence to do my first ever speaking event. I was approached by the Essex PA Network who asked if I would mind coming along and speaking a bit about my career - I reluctantly agreed. Although I’m a fairly confident person, I have always suffered from major anxiety and the thought of standing up talking in front of people was enough to get my heart racing and turn my face the colour of a beetroot, but I decided to go ahead anyway.

Taking a leap and doing that speaking event has been one of the best things I have ever done. I realised that to achieve my goals I needed to step out of my comfort zone and be ok with being a little scared from time to time.

I set myself a challenge: from that night onwards I would take on more speaking events and push myself to speak in front of more people. Since then I have managed to speak at 6 events in the last 9 months and one of my last events was to over 100 people.

I guess what I’m trying to demonstrate with my examples is that when planning your year ahead and what your next goals are, don’t be scared to try something new. There are always barriers that we put up to stop us achieving our goals but don’t give in to thoughts of negativity, be willing to try something new and you will be unstoppable! I’m not saying you should change the world, just start small, think of an end goal and start making small steps towards it. You can do it, there’s nothing stopping you, only your own fears.

I suppose there isn’t much else to say except thank you to all of you that have supported me over the last year and an even bigger thank you to those who have come to hear me speak or read one of my blogs - you honestly will never know how much it means to me.

I wish you, your family and friends a very Happy New Year! Make 2018 the best one yet!

Craig Harris, MEPAA

Essex PA Network works to promote the profiles of PAs, VAs and administrative support staff, and to help people make connections and to nurture their careers.

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