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How Prague Challenged My Comfort Zone

Woman looking into the sun and smiling in Prague

When was the last time you invited

a new perspective into your life or business?

There are comfort zones we know we have and others we can’t consciously label until we’re in an arena where it’s being challenged.

I learned this firsthand while in Europe last month. The International Coach Federation had their global Converge Conference in Prague. Over 1000 Coaches from 72 different countries in attendance, including David Peterson, Google’s Executive Coach & Director of Leader Development.

Let me catch my breath.

There were more MBAs, Ph.D.s, CEOs & ICF credentialed ACCs, PCCs & MCCs under one roof than letters in your last bowl of alphabet soup! This group of Coaches are responsible for supporting elite athletes, legendary CEOs, and the executive teams of most of the Fortune 500. Impressive feels like an understatement.

This Indiana girl was out of her comfort zone. I liked it and, I knew it would make me better.

The conference kicked off with an opening Keynote from Frans Johansson, founder and CEO of The Medici Group, who advises executive leadership of some of the world’s largest companies. He opened with the question, “Is the world outside my business changing faster than my organization?”

And continued, “Today is the slowest day you’ll experience from now on.”

Ponder that for a moment.

In a world where the rules of the game are changing and innovation is required, he outlined examples of nontraditional sources, fields & cultures helping to solve problems in business. For example:

  • The medical world used the carefully synchronized moves of F1 racing teams’ pit crews to more efficiently design the layout of operating rooms.

  • A Muslim designer took a desire to participate in Australian beach culture and created an entire line of burkas made from swimsuit material. This modest “burkini” swimwear is selling out across the world!

  • Sweden took an abundance of winter ice and paired it with the hospitality industry to draw 40,000 annual visitors to an Ice Hotel that melts every summer!

These illustrations made me revel in the bravery of those willing to entertain and act on “different” ideas.

When I chose to attend this conference, I believed good things would come and as time passes, I’m excited to discover exactly how pivotal this trip will prove to be.

I learned about the impact technology is having on our society, beneficial and not. I soaked up findings from leading researchers that’s turning the field of behavioral neuroscience on its head. And, I had meals with people from India, Milan, Germany, Romania, Scotland, Brazil, Ireland, Belgium, Denver, Chicago, and Indianapolis (there were just two of us, but we found each other!) Through these conversations, I opened up, asked questions, and invited different perspectives into my business.

This trip also exposed a personal comfort zone.

My last European adventure was after college with my type A, currently VP of Finance, sorority sister Melissa. I think I bought a travel book and had input on the cities we visited but, relied on Melissa to do most of the research & planning. And, though we looked like American college tourists and got lost countless times (especially in Munich), at least we had each other.

This trip I had no travel partner and the commentary in my head was a repeat of the following:

How do I get a bus ticket?

Where is the terminal?

Do I turn right or left?

I want to pay for my meal, but nobody is making eye contact with me!

What sightseeing will make my experience in this city complete?

It’s been 4 days since I’ve had a real conversation with anyone.


I was reminded that navigating the unknown is harder in an unfamiliar environment. And alone. (Entrepreneurs, I see you!)

Now, there is relaxing travel and exploring travel, this was exploring, and my friends, it takes energy! But after you experience something once, the next time you’re more prepared, experienced, and it doesn’t take as much energy.

On the next trip, you’ll understand the public transportation, the hotel offerings, the exchange rate, and that country’s definition of “customer service”.

This trip was one big invitation to something new. And, I’m excited about the many potential next steps that exist because I chose to fly across the pond.

In business, if we don’t make change, we risk getting stuck.

As this year comes to a close, what can you do to invite in new people, new experiences, or new associations?

I want to encourage you to examine and test your comfort zones, your next-year self will thank you!

Make it a great day!






Plus a few other links of interest:


1. NOW BOOKING! TIMEOUT, a 2-day private coaching retreat! Travel to the resort town of Traverse City, Michigan for an escape from distractions to clearly think, regroup, prioritize and plan. 


2. Could your team benefit from upgrading their leadership? Inquire about Leadership Essentials Academy, a 6-month leadership training & coaching cohort for new and emerging leaders.


3.  Time for a new journal? Pick up a new copy of my Know Thyself Journal for daily support towards your most important intentions for the next 90 days.


4.  Are you into individual assessments? Here is a link to take a free Core Values Assessment (CVI). It only takes 10 minutes and measures your innate, unchanging nature. Take it yourself and feel free to forward it to a friend, too. 


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