Your 'Best Self' Is Right Outside Your Comfort Zone.
You snooze once, roll over, open your eyes, and prepare to step out of bed to make your coffee. It’s the coffee you make every morning you wake up too late to hit the Starbucks.
You’re heading to the familiar office building, with the familiar faces you’ve seen each morning for years. The same sticky lock greets you at the double glass doors, and the familiar eclectic smell of scented candles and coffee hits you like a wave, different every hall you step down. Things are familiar. Things are good.
Kolet Bailey worked at her Dallas, corporate 9-5 for eight years. Eight years; now that’s a pretty solid work history for a young woman. Everyone who knows Kolet would say she’s great at her job, a hard worker, and a very influential person. She began her career as a Staffing Director for the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA), managing people, their schedules and their skills; she connected them to the company, but even more so to herself. She loved her job and the people even more.
As years went by, Kolet transitioned forward into other roles like Director of Events; taking on new responsibilities and leading new areas of the business. The outline of her future had changed from her original plan, but futures have a funny way of taking on a life of their own.
“My degree is in Pre-Professional Physical Therapy and I thought about going back to school for my doctorate in PT. As a former athlete, I spent plenty of time in recovery mode and it has always been a passion of mine to help other athletes do the same. The timing, though, was never right.”
But the timing was right for Kolet to take a chance and change career paths. An opportunity arose, and she jumped. As easy as it may sound, leaving a career you love and taking on something new is not an easy decision, or one made lightly. Many professionals freeze with fear at the thought of changing routine, or trading in a stable job for a new one. The “What ifs” started to kick in:
What if I’m not skilled enough?
What if I’m not ready to take on something new?
What if I’ll miss my old job?
What if I’m not treated fairly?
The list goes on, and on…and would continue to build until you finally talked yourself out of it. But Kolet traded in her “what ifs” for “WHY NOT?” – It was time to grow.
She spent her early years flipping around (she was a cheerleader/gymnast) Pleasantville, New Jersey, where she gained her roots, and acquired ambition and resilience.
“My family was very educationally focused, so as long as we were doing well in school, we were able to play. I went to private school and participated in competitive gymnastics, cheer, and dance.
Growing up, I lived in a predominately Black and Hispanic community, while attending predominately Caucasian schools and extracurricular activities. I was often ridiculed in my home community because of the way I spoke and I wasn’t invited to my teammates/school mate’s birthday parties or sleepover’s because of the color of my skin…I was always caught in the middle.
I worried that this purgatory would be consistent throughout my life. I struggled with acceptance and lacked a sense of belonging, all the way up until college and my professional career.”
But what makes your life hell, can sometimes shape your success. Kolet is one of the most personable and charismatic people I know – and maybe because she’s learned to adapt to any environment she’s thrown into. More people than you can count on one hand call her a best friend; she’s really a phenom in that way.
After finding her way in adult life, and growing comfortable in her first solid job, she found herself looking for more opportunities…for a new challenge…another way to grow into the next chapter of her professional career. She took on the role of Client Solutions Manager at Freeman—a company that specializes in brand experience for various event styles, working closely with event planners to see that clients have what they need to create a memorable experience from top to bottom. As you can imagine, this is very different than staffing for a cheer and dance company.
New territory, new people, new industry, new challenges. But remember—it was challenge that shaped Kolet’s success in the beginning, so really this was just a stepping stone.
Now Kolet is owning her new role, and looking toward the future. She’s vetting Masters in Business Administration programs, and planning her rise to the top of whatever mountain she finds herself at the foot of next.
“Girl, *grabs hands and looks you in the eyes* JUST DO IT! Book the flight, take the class, or apply for the job. We are only here for such a short time, why not live it to the fullest?”