STEPPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

You may not believe it, but when I step into a room, I morph into an introvert. It's a constant battle to push myself into crowded spaces and among many people. Yet, I've realized that I thrive on the energy and connections of others. It's intriguing how discomfort can lead to some of my most innovative ideas and solutions. By challenging myself to interact with others, I often stumble upon breakthroughs.

Now, let me clarify: I don't shy away from human interaction. Once I start talking, there's no stopping me! However, walking into a room full of strangers at an event is OVERWHELMING for me. Despite this, I've learned that great things often emerge from such situations. Living with ADHD, I've noticed that I tend to interject my own stories when someone shares theirs. It's not about competing for attention; rather, it's my way of relating. But sometimes, it may not come across that way, leaving me feeling uneasy. Because of this, I sometimes choose to observe silently, fearing that I might appear disinterested or attention-seeking during the conversation.

One of my earliest experiences of stepping out of my comfort zone was at Macon Startup Week a few years ago. Instead of just attending sessions, I volunteered to help out. I'm confident because of that decision, it left a lasting impression, as I now find myself on the board of a local nonprofit supporting our startup community.

Fast forward, I found myself seeking a speaker for an event for Macon Startup Week. While casually grocery shopping with my family, I saw a new product on the shelf, Terry Ho's Yum Yum Sauce. After seeing the product was made locally in Georgia, I called the number on their website which called Terry himself. His willingness to engage with our community, even skipping the SEC championship game with his family, speaks volumes about his character and passion for entrepreneurship.

More recently, I've been grappling with anxiety before events hosted by Start-Up Macon. This isn't because the event is boring or the people are horrible, it's actually quit the opposite! Everyone is fun, engaging, and happy. Despite the initial discomfort, these gatherings have proven invaluable. Interacting with fellow entrepreneurs has not only refined my inventions but also sparked new ideas. For instance, my first invention, the POPS! Charger Protector, evolved by creating a holder after a user's suggestion for better storage when your not using your charger.

Another improvement stemmed from a conversation about car phone mounts. Integrating feedback, I developed the POPS! Kick-Grip, which utilizes car vents without the need for bulky mounts, enhancing hands-free usability.

These anecdotes underscore how pushing past discomfort has enhanced my skills as an entrepreneur and inventor. I hope sharing my journey inspires you to embrace discomfort and engage with others. You might be amazed at what one interaction can yield!

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