Confront your comfort zone

How to get the most out of the Management Trainee year

We are nearing the halfway mark of our management trainee year, and I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone! I am already well into my third project, and I have started to reflect on my time as a management trainee.

I am a big advocate of going out of your comfort zone, and as a management trainee at Visma it is a guarantee. For me it was one of the reasons that I wanted to work here as I get to learn something new almost daily! Time and time again I find venturing out of my comfort zone scary and time and time again I come out the other end saying “oh that wasn’t so bad” or “I want to do it again!”. With going out of your comfort zone comes a lot of new experiences which might even feel overwhelming at times. But I think that outside your comfort zone is where life gets exiting! Here are some of my tips on how to successfully go out of your comfort zone that have come in handy during my time as a management trainee.

 

My tips, tricks and tools

The issue I usually face when wanting to go out of my comfort zone is that I do not dare to do it. It might feel scary and unknown, which might even lead to me wussing out instead of going full speed ahead. In order to embrace the unknown I live by three rules:

1. Use your network

We all run in to problems from time to time, and I think that the way to solve a particular issue is by having an open dialogue about it. For me, having the trainee network has helped me a lot. I have found that the more I dare to do, or dare to ask, the more I do and accomplish. By discussing issues that I face with my fellow trainees I get insights and tips on how to move forward and past the bottleneck at hand. I also get reassurance and the push that I need to move forward. Furthermore, the older trainees have more experience and a larger network at the workplace which means that they can further contribute with concrete actions, like who to talk to and how to phrase the issue at hand to get maximum results.  

2. Do not be afraid to fail

I used to believe that everything I do must be done perfectly the first time around, which is a foolish way of thinking because no one becomes an expert overnight, regardless of area. Nowadays I live by the philosophy that it is better to try and fail, than to never try at all. I think that it is one of the fastest ways to learn, and that when you realise that missing the mark on one particular thing is not the end of the world, trying becomes less scary. And as we know, the more you try the more you will succeed.

Pro tip: It is important to combine this mentality with the tip above about using your network so that you avoid making mistakes that have already been made.

3. Be as structured as you can

Structure brings order to chaos, and life as a management trainee can feel chaotic at times. In order to be as confident and efficient as possible I use an organisational tool, Trello. I make lists, reminders and notes which help me be organised and efficient. I, myself, am a devoted list maker, and with the tool I can step up my list-making game, which is awesome. I end each day by making a to-do list for the next day, so that when I come in in the morning I can start working immediately, and as a bonus, I am able to better track my progress.

As I said before, a big reason to stay in the comfort zone is the fear of the unknown. With Trello, however, it is easier for me to visualize my next steps, which then makes them less scary. This helps me see the potential beyond my comfort zone, and gives me a gentle push to go get it.

 

I truly believe that it is outside your comfort zone that you grow and learn, and that being uncomfortable is not the end of the world. By using these three guidelines the comfort zone becomes easier and easier to step out of, and your potential grows as you grow. For me becoming a management trainee at Visma was a step outside my comfort zone, and I am excited to say that I continue to step outside that zone every day!

Stina Wahlsten is a Management Trainee at Visma. She holds a Master of science degree in Economics and Business Administration from Hanken School of Economics, where she specialized in Finance. During her studies at Hanken she did an exchange semester in Mannheim, Germany.
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