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Who said it would be easy? Reflections about a Year of Transformation and Growth

Milestones of the year

This year has brought monumental challenges into my life, a response to my continuous desire to unlock my potential more and more each time.

Why do we willingly place ourselves in challenging positions or face our fears instead of opting for a comfortable life? It's because we understand that comfort zones lead to stagnation. The possibilities for growth and learning are minimal within the confines of our comfort. The moment we decide to step beyond our limits and embrace fear as our guide and compass marks the beginning of a transformative journey.

Making this decision is crucial. However, don't be misled; it's not a one-time choice but a daily commitment. Fears, insecurities, others' opinions, obstacles, and difficulties will always be there. And will constantly challenge you. And every day, we need to remember what we are fighting for, what that big objective is - the individual purpose that drives our days and ignites our passion.

This year, things that I once thought impossible have happened. I became a world champion in ice swimming for the 5th time, achieved my dream of being a TEDx Speaker speaking about unlocking potential out of comfort zone, and fulfilled my greatest aspiration: crossing the English Channel solo in 15 hours 36 minutes. Also, I was honored to be nominated as one of the Top 10 influential women to look out for in 2023 by the NYC Journal Magazine. All of these while managing a full-time consulting job, leading the talent management consulting practice, and contributing to building a better working world with great colleagues and big clients at EY Switzerland. I want to take this opportunity to thank my EY leadership team and colleagues because, without their support and flexibility, much of these couldn't have happened. So, thank you, EY, for all the support. It's really a company that promotes an environment that enables unlocking potential.

At the same time, this year, I have also worked on developing my personal brand, Out of Comfort Zone, and undertaking various engagements such as keynote speeches, cold water boot camps, and working on the German version of my book after many requests: Out of Comfort Zone -extended version- translated into German that has been recently published on Amazon! These magical things can only happen when you step out of your comfort zone with dedication, discipline, focus, and passion.

I look back and wonder how all of these could have happened in one year. The truth is that this is not only one year's work but the work of a lifetime, and as I keep going, the opportunities to unlock my potential keep appearing. I am so grateful for this transformational year that I wanted to take the time, now the year is ending, to reflect with you about some learnings that came with these milestones so we can keep growing and making magic happen by going out of our comfort zone.

So, what are my key learnings from these milestones?

1. Ice Swimming: I never believed this could be possible as the cold water was my biggest fear, but I became an ice swimmer and a world champion. It was crucial to turn my fear into a friend; otherwise, I might have remained paralyzed, never pursuing my dream. Fear becomes our compass, guiding us to understand our potential. It's not that you lack the ability; you just haven't developed it yet. Fear reveals areas for transformation and highlights limiting beliefs, helping you become a better version of yourself.

2. Tedx Speaking: Overcoming my fear of public speaking, I transitioned from fearing a crowd of 100 to becoming a Tedx and Forbes speaker. The key lesson is continuous practice, seeking improvement, embracing feedback, and never giving up. Don't be afraid of feedback or failure, as it guides you on where to focus for further learning and unlock more potential.

3. English Channel Crossing: Fulfilling a dream two decades old can be a rollercoaster, but it's all worth it. It's vital to understand that blindly pursuing a dream is not the solution. Timing matters; patience and gradual progress are essential. Recognize the right time, with the maturity and growth needed. For me, it was a massive growth—mentally, physically, spiritually—and required a lot of dedication and endurance. Achieving something requires sacrifices and readiness. I had a full-time demanding consulting job, and sacrifices in my personal life were inevitable. But the lessons learned were invaluable. I worked hard and, on top of that, used my private time to manage my energy and my time for proper training and regeneration.

Finally, I think a significant part of the journey involves working on your mindset, as it represents 60% of what enables success. The body can be trained, abilities developed, and skills learned, but without perseverance, discipline, commitment, and a resilient attitude, also called a growth mindset—qualities defined by a mindset—progress is limited. If you don't trust yourself, if you don't get back up when you fall down, you won't achieve anything. Also, it was more important to manage my energies rather than my time. Energy management is key.

No matter what happens, stay true to yourself, remain focused, and persevere. Keep going even when the road gets bumpy because, after all, who said it would be easy?


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