Continuous Growth Beyond Comfort Zone

By Elaine Cercado

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there.”

Continuous learning, change and growth were my big personal themes this year. I have previously shared my experiences and learnings about navigating through a personal change journey. For this article, allow me to share reflections about dealing with the continuous surprises and changes in life.

We know when it’s time to move to a new path.

I have dreamed of owning a coffee shop, and at the start of 2014, it happened. My husband and I ran a cake and coffee shop at one of the biggest and busiest malls in Singapore. It turned out to be the wrong investment for us – investment not just in terms of money, but more importantly, in terms of impact on time, energy and relationships.

I shared in a previous article how a deceivingly simple question, “Is it worth it?”, could serve as a wake up call. My husband’s and my answer to this important question aligned and that was all it took to execute the next actions. So at the start of 2nd quarter of 2015, we closed our shop and moved on from retail entrepreneurship. We discovered the long hours of a start-up retail store in a mall that opened 8AM and closed 10PM daily from Mondays to Sundays, and extended up to 11PM during holiday seasons, was not for us. We both had other priorities in mind such as our family time and Church community service.

The best thing was we tried and pursued the retail entrepreneurship calling and learned a lot from our collaborations and partnerships. We learned so much about food retail business, marketing, customer service, people management, and operations in a short period of time. We learned how to set up and close a corporation in the food retail industry in Singapore. This experience left me with much respect for those who have put in so much of their time and energy in retail, and have succeeded well.

The next best thing was my personal learning about myself, particularly, about re-discovering my passions and strengths, and how important it is to always ensure – in practice – to have constant harmony between purpose (the why) and activities (the what & how). Stretching was great but the key to sustaining the entrepreneurial energy for the long haul was the alignment of these four: purpose, passion, strengths and actions.

Purpose and passion spark high energy and actions.

After we closed our retail venture, it was back to discerning the next steps. First things first, we cleared our minds and hearts in a retreat up in the mountains. In the stillness and silence of nature, I got re-affirmed by my newfound clarity and focus.

I went on to pursue the passions I’ve paused during the retail venture – empowering others through mentoring and coaching, and continuously creating and sharing through learning and development. I began the process of certifying globally in the field of coaching to complement my training and consulting certifications. I also continuously pursued my entrepreneurial spirit and found excellent partners who shared the same passion in training and coaching. Hence, the birth of “POWERinU Training and Coaching Philippines Inc.” It is a new company that shares the same mission and values as my Singapore-based training and coaching partnership. In addition, this 4th quarter, I was engaged in a regional learning, development and coaching project, which is an exciting opportunity and challenge within the sphere of my passions and strengths.

While all these things are happening in my professional life, I have also maintained as top priority my relationships and roles as mother, wife, daughter, friend and community servant. While the amount of work does not seem to end and I have to spend long hours similar to the long hours in retail – I don’t resent it. I don’t feel physically tired and don’t feel that I’m shortchanging my relationships and other roles.

The congruence between purpose and actions is the key. Energy just seems to flow naturally.

What a way to begin and end 2015! I’m grateful for the journey of continuous learning, change and growth!

On this note, I wish Everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you for linking with me, for sharing and inspiring me with your posts, and for reading my posts as well. May we all keep growing the power within us in 2016 and beyond!

Note: This article is also published in LinkedIn.

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