Every fall kindergarteners start a cycle that they will repeat for more than 10 years. Most adults are familiar with this cycle and looking back on this cycle we can discern that we learned a valuable coping skill – being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Then why do we abandon this skill when it comes to leadership development?

Let me explain what I mean. As school aged children we entered each school year a little apprehensive because we were in unfamiliar territory.

We didn’t know the teacher, we didn’t know all of our classmates, we didn’t know the subject matter and every few years, as we moved from elementary to junior high to senior high school, we didn’t know the school environment.

We reached this point of unfamiliarity every fall because we had mastered the subject matter associated with the previous grade. Like ducklings that had grown up, we were kicked out of the pond. 

But when it comes to learning to lead things change. We master a particular skill level and we are content; we seem too apprehensive to try experiences that will challenge us so we stay in the same pond.

But we only grow when we are challenged. That public speaking course that everyone else is taking but you’re ducking (pun intended)? Sign up! That finance course in your master’s program that is intimidating the hell out of you? Enroll!

It’s not only okay to be uncomfortable, it is essential to your development as a good leader.

What leadership development opportunities are you ducking and why?