For Real Transformation, Leave Your Comfort Zone

by Valerie Nadi
In May 2018, Salesforce completed its acquisition of MuleSoft, one of the world's leading platforms for building application networks. With MuleSoft, Salesforce can accelerate their customers’ digital transformation efforts, enabling them to unlock data across legacy systems, cloud apps, and devices. In this blog, we feature Salesforce Business Development Representative Nicola Wilson, who specialises in the MuleSoft product from London.

If you check out the Wikipedia entry on the term “comfort zone,” you’ll notice it references two other psychological states: the optimal performance zone and the danger zone. Essentially, in your comfort zone, there’s virtually no stress. In the danger zone, you’re a mess — too much pressure. But in the optimal performance zone, there’s just enough intensity to improve focus and concentration. 

When Salesforce Business Development Representative Nicola Wilson wanted to push the boundaries of her career, she knew it meant leaving her comfort zone.

Watching her boyfriend’s quickly accelerating career at another tech company had made Nicola restless for her own professional growth. So when he relocated to San Francisco for work, Nicola took the opportunity to emerge from familiar waters.

She’d previously applied to an open role at MuleSoft, which led to several conversations and a few interviews. Nicola decided to reconnect with her MuleSoft contact and hopped back into the application process. In January 2018, she started the new year with a new career.

“I wanted to work at a place where people were at the heart of the business and they were doing something really unique and transformative. I felt that MuleSoft encapsulated that.”

Anyone considering a career change can learn from Nicola’s journey. A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but, in terms of finding your career sweet spot, that path is not always the most transformational.


How to leave your comfort zone — three tips

Nicola pushed herself beyond her comfort zone to make the transition to MuleSoft. And, once there, she kept pushing. As Nicola gained experience and overcame challenges, she discovered three tips that helped her embrace the process of stretching herself.

Don't be afraid to fail

Voltaire once said, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Nicola realized she often limited herself by trying to be perfect. Moreover, by avoiding new activities and experiences, you risk missing something you might like or be very good at.

“If you're always looking to be perfect, you're going to play it safe because you don’t want to make a mistake.”

Learn from your mistakes

Mistakes often teach us valuable lessons. In fact, some of the world’s greatest inventions and discoveries originated from mistakes. 

Within Business Development, Nicola’s role is to find and nurture leads for the Account Executive (AE) she supports. But in her first months here, Nicola struggled to meet her individual goals, which meant the AE had a gap in her pipeline.

It was a frustrating situation for them both — neither hitting their personal targets. But it sparked a conversation. And Nicola realized that putting the customer first could solve for the issue at hand.

“It’s important to properly qualify the leads and see if they’re a strong fit. Rather than pushing products and emphasizing quantity of leads, focus on quality relationships. This starts with having empathy for your customers and caring about what drives them. Care about their success.”

With that mindset shift, both Nicola and her AE began to thrive.

Bring what's unique to you

When she joined MuleSoft, Nicola struggled to find her own style. Fortunately, her aunt stepped in with some good advice, “Have fun. Everything doesn't have to mean something. Don't try to be like the people on the team. Bring what makes you different.”

What makes her different is a strong sense of empathy, some good-natured goofiness, and not taking herself too seriously.

“It’s ok not to always be the most put-together person. You can be professional, but show who you are as a person. Share what really matters to you, and your ambitions outside of work. I want to bring the care I have for my family to the team I work with.”

Regaining the “spark”

Nicola’s professional and personal lives have benefited from her journey to MuleSoft and her experience once there.

“I'm really developing myself as a person, which has improved all my relationships in and out of work. I've got my spark back. I feel like I'm a much more interesting person in my personal life because I feel a buzz. I'm excited about what I’m doing.”

Learning and feeling that what you do at work has an impact are two measures of career growth that cut across industries, roles, and the often artificial separation between work and life outside of work.

To learn more about the MuleSoft acquisition and how getting out of your comfort zone can help your career and your personal life, watch our upcoming webinar, Disrupt Your Career Trajectory with Disruptive Technology. You’ll hear a panel of Salesforce employees share their experiences.  Or if you’re already convinced, you can for a role today apply today!

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