Make That Move: Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
A collaboration blog featuring The Blog of Growth.
I believe that we're entering into a season of preparation for new opportunities. Whether it's attending a new school/program in the Fall, moving to a new city, starting a new job, creating a new business, or taking your relationship to the next level—the time is now to begin your preparation for the next step. The Blog of Growth and I have teamed up to bring you tips, advice, as well as testimonies to help navigate you to your next move.
If there's one thing that I truly dislike, is being uncomfortable. A small room with a large crowd makes me uncomfortable. Minor inconveniences makes me uncomfortable. Asking professors for a letter of recommendation makes me uncomfortable. People who stare at me makes me uncomfortable. Speaking in front of a large crowd makes me uncomfortable. Anything that remotely summons change into my life—makes me uncomfortable. There are tons of things that make us uncomfortable; but if there's one major essential that I've taken from all of this is that I should get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Because sometimes being uncomfortable makes room for new opportunities. If we continue to stay in our comfort zone, we may never expand our horizon or receive blessings that are meant for the newest version of ourselves.
I recently finished an inspiring self-help book entitled More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth. Elaine represents the true essence of #BlackGirlMagic—she was named editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue in 2017, making her the second person of African-American heritage in Condé Nast's 107-year history to hold such a title. In her debut book, Elaine takes her readers on a journey of finding yourself in a world where you don't necessarily see yourself in mass media. One trait that I truly admired about Elaine was her fearless ability of going after what she wanted. In one chapter of her book, she detailed how a near-perfect job opportunity seamlessly landed in her lap but there was an issue with the salary. Elaine felt as though the salary offer wasn't equivalent to the job that she was being asked to do. She believed that she was worth more. As a woman, she didn't want to be deemed as "doing the most" by asking for an increase in her salary. Whereas if a White male were to do the same gesture, people wouldn't think twice about it. Elaine then left us with, "Women aren't taught to get comfortable with making people uncomfortable." This quote really resonated with me because it is so true! As women, we're often put into a smaller box than men where we're looked at as being crazy for simply asking for what we want especially if it makes others uncomfortable. We're taught to never overstep and to stay in our lane which in actuality prevents us from making the moves that we truly want to make. Elaine denied this double standard and in the end, she managed to secure a bump in her salary. The era of us fitting into a box to make others comfortable—are over.
With the help of Elaine's words, I reflected on my own ability of getting out of my comfort zone. If I stayed in my comfort zone, then I wouldn't be where I am now. If I stayed in my comfort zone then I wouldn't have attended college out-of-state; I wouldn't have graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana; I wouldn't have moved to Texas; I wouldn't have started grad school; I wouldn't have continued my 2 going on 3-year long distance relationship; I wouldn't have gone sky diving; I wouldn't travel; I definitely wouldn't have started this blog; and on my latest work, if I stayed in my comfort zone then I wouldn't have secured a graduate fellowship that covers all of my tuition and fees along with a stipend. When I first arrived at grad school, I was offered a Graduate Research Assistant position where I could conduct research while getting paid. In most grad school scenarios, along with the stipend, this position would also cover all of your tuition and fees as well. Sadly, this wasn't the case for me as I was only offered a stipend and some tuition and fees covered. But I never asked or looked into why my education wasn't fully funded. In terms of academia (all things school related), I was a little uncomfortable with speaking up and asking for what I wanted. Childish, I know. But I felt as though: they're already providing me with a generous stipend, why ask for more? It wasn't until last week after I finished reading Elaine's book where I realized that if I want more, then I should ask for more. I wanted ALL of my tuition and fees covered, so I simply asked my research mentor if my program could provide me with full tuition support for the remainder of my time within the program. My request was approved and my congratulatory award letter was emailed to me the same day! Not only will my current Master's degree be fully funded but if I wish to continue with the program by obtaining my Ph.D., they are also deeply considering in offering me a paid fellowship for that as well. All because I asked for what I wanted. Ain't God good?!
So you see, I am extremely elated that I got out of my comfort zone and that I made those moves.
Now let me introduce you to one of my very good friends, Kristen, who is the creator of The Blog of Growth. Kristen lends her readers an insight on her journey of self-growth through her experiences as she enlightens others about fearlessly attacking the next chapter of your life. Let's explore how she boldly made the decision to move from Louisiana to Washington, D.C., along with other career-making decisions.
Q. & A. with Kristen R. from The Blog of Growth.
Xi: State your name, age, where you're from, education, and occupation.
Kristen: My name is Kristen Richardson. I am 23 years old. I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I received my Bachelors in Psychology at Xavier University of LA. I am currently in graduate school pursuing my Masters in Forensic Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. I am a full time student/future psychologist.
Xi: Why did you create The Blog of Growth?
Kristen: I started The Blog of Growth because I wanted to create a space where I felt comfortable being vulnerable & sharing my truth. My main goal was to tell the stories that someone else may need to hear. I also wanted to encourage growth in others. A couple of years ago, writing became a significant part of my life. It was the only way I was able to express my thoughts, feelings, frustrations, etc. At the beginning of 2019, I set the intention that I would create a blog that will allow me to use my growth to help others grow.
Xi: What made you decide to pursue a degree in psychology?
Kristen: I pursued a degree in psychology because I have always been interested in finding out what makes people who they are. My interest/passion became a little more specific when I decided that I wanted to work with the forensic population. I want to serve people.
Xi: Why did you move to D.C.? Has it been difficult?
Kristen: I chose to move to D.C. mostly because of my graduate school program. Because my major is not as popular and is still growing, there were a limiting amount of options to choose from. Besides that, I knew D.C. was a great place for a variety of opportunity/experience and probably one of the best places to integrate into the professional world.
At first, adjusting to another city was a little difficult. Being in a foreign place alone, but still trying to get out, explore, & familiarize yourself with your new environment can be scary. I remember my first few weeks here were the roughest times I’ve had and I honestly considered going back to Louisiana, at least until school started. Even though it was scary, there were still feelings of excitement and motivation for being in new place.
Xi: Looking back, do you think that you made the right move?
Kristen: I do think I made the right move for this chapter in my life. Moving to D.C. was definitely the growing experience that was needed for this transition into the “real” world. Moving to another state/region allowed me to see what is outside of Louisiana and the South. Don’t get me wrong, I love & miss some things about it; however, there is an entirely different world on the outside. I encourage people to go experience it.
Xi: Do you have any words of encouragement for anyone thinking about moving to a new state, starting a blog, applying to grad school, etc.?
Kristen: The best piece of advice I could give to anyone: do what you feel is right for you. Whether you are contemplating moving to another state, trying to figure out what grad school program is best, or starting a blog. Often times people do not take risks because we don’t know what the outcome will be, but everything is a learning experience. Be mindful that even if things don’t work out exactly the way you pictured it does not mean you are a failure. Be encouraged that there may be a better opportunity in store for you on the other side.
As I am currently in the process of finishing up my grad program and figuring out what is the best decision for my next move, I am doing my research (jobs, living arrangements, etc.), weighing the pros and cons, but most importantly, staying prayed up about it. I encourage you to take some of these same steps in making your next decision.
I was 22 when I moved to D.C.!!! I could’ve let all the doubt, fear, and negative self-talk hinder me from making that move & settling for another life. However, I would not have been content with that life. I wanted the life I envisioned for myself more than the one I would have settled for. Do what is best for you. Do what you feel is right for you. Ask God to point you in the right direction.
Okay, let's do this!
Kristen and I can both attest to not allowing fear to dictate our decision on seeking and committing to new opportunities. Plans are never perfect. You may not have every single piece of the puzzle figured out yet, but don't let that stop you from making that move! You can perfect your plan along the way.
Our advice is to first, do your research: What is the living vs. salary ratio in this city/state?; What career opportunities are available with the completion of this degree?; Who is my potential audience for my blog? Like Kristen mentioned, weigh out the pros and cons. Start preparing now! Another helpful tip: reach out to people who are already in the place or opportunity that you're seeking. For example, when I showed interest in pursing a degree in environmental toxicology, I googled and found a well-known toxicologist in the Houston area. She mentored me on the do's and don'ts of grad school, how research in grad school works, what career opportunities were available, and more. If you want to move to a new city but you have no idea where to start looking for an apartment or home, kindly reach out to someone who is in that area. I encourage you to build your network because you never know what guidance they're willing to give. Another very important tip: pray. Ask God to show you your next move. Ask Him if this is the right move for you and to courageously lead you through this next chapter of your life. Sometimes I pressure myself into quickly figuring out my next move before I even finish my current move, which drives my anxiety through the roof! But then I pray and have a conversation with God about removing my insecurities about not knowing what my next move is. Everything happens on His time, on time. Last but certainly not least, go for what you want. Don't be nervous to ask for more or to seek more. You deserve everything great that is in store for you. Don't hold yourself back from receiving blessings due to fear. Please know that you are well equipped and deserving for every opportunity and then some!
Now that you have the tools and testimonies needed to help you make your next move, I pray that everything will align perfectly for you. Have patience, trust yourself, and of course, trust God. So, go on and make that move!
Affirm: I am so grateful to know that anything is possible for me. I have the choice right now to completely take a new direction with my thoughts and action. Everything is aligning in my favor.
Xi's Takeaway Essentials:
Stay prayed up!
Do your research and create a plan (doesn't have to be perfect).
Network: Don't be afraid to reach out to others and ask questions.
Ask for what you want, then ask for more.
Be sure to check out more of Kristen and The Blog of Growth
Message: Xi's Essentials stands firm with the discontinuation of the injustices and systemic racism that Black Americans face everyday. Our hearts especially go out to all of those whom have been affected by police brutality. Let's continue to protest, donate, sign petitions, say their names, and support black-owned businesses. For more information on what you can do to help combat racism, please click the link here. Stay safe and Black Lives Matter, forever and always.