Episode 40: How to Find Massive Expansion in Your Career and Life
Transcript Episode 40
Welcome to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship Podcast, the show for purpose-driven entrepreneurs who want to get inspired to step outside of your comfort zone, expand it to your purpose and grow your business in a big way. I’m your host, Stephanie Skryzowski, a globe trotting CFO whose mission is to empower leaders to better understand their numbers to grow their impact and their income. Let’s dive in!
Hey everybody, welcome back! Welcome to 100 degrees of entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Stephanie Skryzowski and I’m really excited to talk to you today about really how to create space for massive expansion in your life. Its based on a recent experience that I had where, frankly, I felt super out of my comfort zone and not in the right place at all. And kind of ready to quit and just be like “nope, this isn’t for me.” So, I’m gonna tell you all about that today.
I’m going to talk about some other times that I have really felt super super crazy crazy outside of my comfort zone, but I have sort of stepped up to the plate. Tried again. Learned more and elevated to the next level and have been able to expand in my life, in my mindset, in my career, in my business. I want to share how you can do this as well. So let’s dive in!
This is gonna be like I don’t know a little bit of a storytelling episode today. Versus “okay, here’s 1234 or five things that you need to do.”
So, recently, I was in a situation where I was looking to purchase some commercial real estate. I’m still on the hunt for my first investment property. Not exactly sure what that looks like if it’s residential or if it’s a rental property or if it’s commercial. I’m exploring all these avenues, but I found this great opportunity for a commercial space. It’s actually like this little house in a village. You know, a sort of like a main street USA type village and I had some really big dreams for it. So excited for my own office space and a co-working space, and just event space – all the things. So excited about this!
I ended up reaching out to the person that was selling it and showed up to meet him to look at it. I’ve also arranged another meeting for another property a little bit farther down the street the same day. I just was like, “Okay, let me go check out these two properties.”
So, I looked at the first property turns out it was actually already under contract. But the seller let me take a look anyway, just in case something happened to fall through with that one. And you know, I could just kind of get some ideas and get familiar with the different terms and things. I don’t know anything about commercial real estate, by the way.
From the residential side of things, over my life I’ve bought three different houses, as we’ve moved to different places. So, I know a little bit about buying a house, but like very much the basics. Nothing about commercial real estate, so when they’re asking, “what’s your budget per square foot?” I was like, “uhhh”. Okay, so you know I’m googling things like as I’m talking on the phone to people.
Anyway, so I looked at the first house – the first property – it’s a no-go. Showed up to the second property and it’s kind of the same concept where it’s like a house on the same Main Street. I show up and I have immediately surrounded by like 6 older white guys all in suits and ties. I’m in a much more casual outfit , not like cut-off shorts or anything, but a little bit more of a casual outfit – not a business suit by any means. I haven’t worn a business suit in like a decade.
But you know, I’m feeling a little bit more casual. They all know each other because they’re all kind of like townies. I mean, that sounds are derogatory, I just mean they’re all from the same town. They all do business together in the same town.
So, they all know each other and they’re kind of you know, trading inside jokes, talking golf and blah, blah blah. I pretty quickly wanted to just shrink away and die. I was like, “Oh my god, I don’t want to be here.”
Actually, once I stepped inside the second property, I didn’t even really want the property, but I felt like I had to kind of go through the motions and finish this like business meeting.
But anyway, so they’re talking to me, I felt like a couple of them didn’t take me seriously at all. Thinking that, you know, maybe I didn’t even have the money to be able to purchase this property if I wanted to. And I’m just I was telling myself all the stories. They think I’m this girl that like doesn’t know what she’s talking about. And she doesn’t have any money. “Uh, why are we even wasting our time?”
I was telling myself that they were thinking those things and I have no proof that they were actually thinking those things. But I felt very very uncomfortable. Literally, like sweating, ick to my stomach, my sort of like flight response was engaged.
I’m thinking there were a couple other times in my life, especially related to my career where I had felt this feeling, right? The first time I ever had to present financial statements to a board of directors. And this was like, sitting on the 44th floor of a skyscraper in Manhattan and presenting financial statements. As an, I don’t know, what was a 23 years old or something 24 years old, to a board of directors who are very, very high level successful corporate executives. I thought I was going to die. I wanted to die.
And then the other time I’m thinking about feeling this exact same way, was when I had to interview to become a CFO of the nonprofit that I was working for. I interviewed with the former CFO of one of the largest corporations in the world. He was on the board of directors. I was asked to interview with him, and he had literally run like a multibillion dollar corporation. So terrifying, completely terrifying.
And all of these times, I’m like, you know, 26 or 28 years old, and just feeling very insecure. I shouldn’t have been there, right?
So, I think of all these different experiences, where I have felt the same feeling totally out of my comfort zone. I felt like I wasn’t wearing the right thing. I didn’t know what I was talking about, I shouldn’t be here. And that’s why I kept telling myself over and over again, in each of these three scenarios, and even recently. I feel like I have become so much more confident in after I’ve been running my business and having to have really difficult conversations and do things I never thought I could do before.
I thought I’d been really confident. But this meeting about this real estate really just like kind of shot me back down to that same feeling I felt when I was 23, and presenting the financials to this board.
So, in all of these different situations, I had two choices. I could decide that this is not for me. Presenting to the board on the 44th floor of a skyscraper in Manhattan – this is not for me.
When I had to interview with a prominent, brilliant corporate executive, corporate CFO, I could have said, “This is not for me.”
When I went into this real estate meeting with a whole bunch of people that I felt super uncomfortable with, I could have thought, “you know what? This is not for me.”
But I didn’t.
I decided to push myself through that like literally sick to my stomach feeling. And try again. Learn more and come back to the table and do it again.
I think about each of these moments in my career in my life, and they have been pivotal on the other side of that horrible, horrible feeling where you wish you could just melt into a puddle like Alex Mack from that show on Nickelodeon back in the 90s. You remember that show where she just like melted into this oozy puddle of like weird chemicals? I wish I could do that. And then like slither out the door.
On the other side of that feeling have been the greatest transformations and moments of expansion in my life.
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After presenting to the board the financials, I realized this is what I want to do. This is what I’m good at. I want to do this for the rest of my life, I want to get better at it.
I love taking the numbers, turning them into something bigger, and talking about them with people. And feeling confident and good about it, I love that! That was a pivotal moment that showed me like this is for me.
When I interviewed with that CFO that showed me that number one, I can be a CFO. I am a chief financial officer, I have what it takes to do this. Not only that, but I have a lot to learn from other people who have been in this space. And I have a lot to teach other people who are coming up behind me.
That real estate meeting is uncomfortable as I felt, and this was literally just a few months ago, as uncomfortable as I felt this showed me, “Listen, I can play in the same circles, as these old, wealthy white guys that are all from the same town that are buying up real estate. I can play in the same circles as them. I’m working really hard in my business and I can do what they’re doing as well.”
And so on the other side of those moments that have just felt like the worst, have been the biggest moments of expansion in my life.
Listen, it’s not easy. It doesn’t really feel that good to be honest. And like oh my gosh, who would put themselves in a situation where you just feel terrible about yourself, and you’re like, “I don’t belong here.” It’s not easy to put yourself in those kinds of situations. But knowing the reward on the other side, I would do it time and time and time again.
As I’m saying these words out loud to you, I’m thinking to myself, “Oh, God, I don’t want to be in that position. Again, that sucked. I don’t like feeling that way, but I am grateful for what the other side has taught me.”
So, the one thing that I will say, that has really helped that I think will help you too. If you’re in this position, you’re like, “Oh, my gosh, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this.” And for some people, maybe it’s like speaking on a stage for the first time and sharing your message. That can be terrifying. And you can decide, this isn’t for me.
Actually, gosh, I’m thinking about another situation!
Okay, so another situation, the very, very early stages of my business. I was asked to come into this group of entrepreneurs, where I lived in Cincinnati and kind of talk about like, overall financial management and numbers and whatever. I had never spoken in a group before. In fact, I always been like quite terrified to speak up in meetings or in class. You know, college or grad school, or even throughout my high school, elementary school. I’ve never liked to really speak up in class.
So, getting on a stage in front of a whole bunch of entrepreneurs, which honestly, I felt they were farther along in their entrepreneurship journey than I was at that point. But getting up in front of them to speak about numbers was freaking terrifying. I did it. I felt afterwards, like, “I really did not do a very good job at that.” I didn’t feel good about it afterwards. If you’ve ever been in that situation, where it’s like, “okay, I did it. I don’t know, if I did very well. But like, I did it!” Right?
After that time, I could have been like, “nope! That was a big fat fail. I’m not doing that again.” But I didn’t, I did it again. And each time it got better, and better and better.
Now, I love speaking in front of audiences, I love teaching. Because I feel really confident. And I feel really excited about sharing my knowledge with people. But if I had decided after that first time that, honestly, it didn’t really go very well.
I think I had someone asked me a question like, “oh, what do you do with like your financials, if you decide to pivot?” And I was like, “What is pivot mean?” I think I asked like, “what do you mean by pivot?” and they’re like, “do something different in your business?” I still think about that every, every time I hear somebody talking about pivot, I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, I remember that horrible moment.” But it doesn’t matter anymore, right? Because I’ve gotten on stage again, and again and again. And I’ve gotten better. And now I know what pivot means!
So, if I had decided not to do that, I would not have gotten to experience a lot of what I’ve experienced in my business and in my life, and that growth opportunities because of it.
So, if you’re in a situation where you’re like, Alright, I’ve put myself out there, once it sucked, I felt terrible about it. And I don’t really want to do it again, I would encourage you to please, please do it again. Do it again, the world needs whatever you have to offer. And even if it feels horrible, and uncomfortable and painful, the massive expansion is on the other side.
I kind of think that like, the more uncomfortable you are, the greater the expansion on the other side, I don’t know about you, but think about that.
Think about that, in your own life, those moments that have just felt kind of awful when you’re in them. What has happened after that? What’s been on the other side?
So, if you’re in this position, I want you to first recognize that feeling in yourself. What does that feel like for you? For me, it’s feeling sick to my stomach. It’s sweating and it’s feeling like I need to leave. Literally feeling like, “I have to get out of here, I don’t care what they think about me, I don’t care I’m leaving.” So, that’s what the feeling for me feels like.
It might feel a little bit different for you. But I know that when I feel like this, again, I am going to remind myself that like, “Alright, we’re here, you feel this way, it’s okay. But we’re gonna make the conscious decision to do this. We’re gonna make that conscious decision to try again, because I know what’s on the other side. It’s proven itself time and time again!”
If you’re in that place, recognize that feeling. Identify it, then recognize the feeling. Make a conscious decision that you’re going to do it because you know what’s on the other side.
The other thing that I will say, that has really, really helped me is to go into whatever it is prepared. And I think that kind of goes without saying, right? Like you’re not going to get on a stage having never rehearsed what you’re going to talk about. I don’t know, maybe you would, I wouldn’t. But like this real estate meeting, for example, I went into it relatively prepared. I probably could have prepared a little bit more. But knowing your numbers is often kind of a big part of some of these like pivotal moments.
If you’re like me, you know, I was in this real estate meeting, knowing my numbers and being able to confidently say when they asked like, “Oh, do you have the financing available?” I’d be like, “yeah, Yes, I do”.
I felt very confident in saying that because I knew my numbers. And so, that doesn’t come into play with every type of situation where you’re going to feel super outside your comfort zone, but I had to throw it in there. I’m a CFO, you got to know your numbers. And that really does play into your confidence. Even if it’s not your numbers, going in prepared with whatever it might be, is going to make all the difference. Or maybe not all the difference, but maybe even like 10% of the difference in feeling just a teeny tiny bit more confidence. So that you can push past that incredibly uncomfortable feeling to do the thing and get the results and see the massive expansion.
So, that’s my story that was like a little bit open, a little bit vulnerable. And sharing, you know, sometimes I’m like, wildly outside my comfort zone.
What I would love is if you think about a time when you felt like wildly outside your comfort zone. I’m thinking of just different people that I’ve spoken with that find themselves in a business meeting with somebody that is like your idol. Somebody that you never thought you would work with or collaborate with, or a particular brand you idolize, and then all of a sudden you’re like, on the phone with them.
Even like interviewing somebody for your podcast, somebody you’ve admired forever. And then all of a sudden, you’re like interviewing them, or whatever it might be that just feels sort of beyond your wildest dreams. I just think and I want you to think, “what is on the other side of this?”
So I don’t want you to run, you’re gonna feel like you want to, but I don’t want you to run, I want you to go into it prepared. And really just focus on what is on the other side.
I think back now and if I had had the insight and self awareness then that I have now I think maybe I would have done better at that interview to become the CFO. Okay, at the end of the day, I got the job, but maybe not done better. Maybe I would have been a little bit more confident going in if I had thought like, “Hey, I’m gonna be the CFO of this organization. On the other side of this interview, I just got to get through the interview.”
Anyway, I hope that this was a little bit of encouragement to you because I like I said, I really shared some details. I don’t think I’ve shared a lot before, especially about this recent real estate meeting. I hope there’s a little bit of encouragement to you. You can do hard things, I can do hard things. And the harder the thing, the bigger the expansion on the other side.
Anyway, my friends, if you’ve got a hard thing and you want to share it with me and we can like trade war stories. Please send me a DM on Instagram. I would love to hear about it and commiserate and congratulate you for making it out to the other side.
So I hope you’re well. I hope everything is good. Send me a DM on Instagram and I’ll catch you next time!
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Transcript Episode 40