Skip to Content

What if? Stepping outside of your comfort zone

What if you send in an idea for SAP Teched? What if you start something? What if you talk to a stranger? What if you help someone? What if you tried something new?


To give a proper answer to any of these questions would require you to actually go out and do those things. By doing that you might have to step outside of your comfort zone but that is exactly the point.

A short story

If you have read some of my previous blogs you will know I like telling stories and for this blog I happen to have a short story.

The other day I stepped into the elevator at work to go up to the second floor. Yes I know it’s only two floors but that’s not the point. There were some IT colleagues in the elevator and two gentlemen I didn’t knew. One of two gentlemen asked the other gentlemen if he could exchange a five euro bill for coins. It was clear both gentlemen knew each other.

I took my wallet and exchanged the five euro bill for coins and along with doing that I apparently amazed everyone in the elevator. Once we got out of the elevator my colleagues asked me, do you know those gentlemen? My answer, do I have to know them to help out? Not really but apparently it is not accustom to help someone out you don’t know.

It does feel good to help someone out, it’s a gesture, it’s what I would have wanted if I needed to exchange a five euro bill. Apparently, for others to do the same it would require them to step outside of their comfort zone.

Group sentiment

Recent world events shows how opinions are enlarged by group sentiment, in both good and bad ways. A good friend reminded me how important it is to be you and stick to your own voice and opinion. I have blogged on that topic in the past already with my blog We are who we are after getting comments on my SCN activities.

It’s not because others would feel uncomfortable doing what you do that you should be affected by it. So you can choose to be limited due to the comment of others or express yourself. It doesn’t mean your opinion can’t change or you cannot be wrong. I find it very interesting to see comments and read thoughts of others. Those comments are equally important as the blog content. Remember nobody is perfect.

Trying something new

Why not try something new, something you are not accustom to do. Yet again I have a nice story! I tend to come into the office at insanely early hours, I’m known for it and sometimes it’s the subject for laughter that I start working at night. I like to live my day to the full extent, so many things to learn, to do and to get into. Anyway in those early hours 5 – 5.30am the security guard of the night shift sits at the reception. Although his shift is nearly at its end he is always super friendly, greeting whoever comes in with a good morning and a smile.


I decided to tell him how I find he does an excellent job and that I admire his attitude as he is always very friendly and coming into the office in the morning like that really makes me start my day with a lot of energy and it basically causes happiness. Apparently that’s another pointer people have problems with, expressing themselves to someone they don’t know that well, scary for some I guess. Each morning I come in now when he is on duty we talk and he really is a nice guy and he has a good sense of humor. I love to laugh and he makes my day start with a positive, even humoristic vibe.

End note

You should give some of those what if’s a try and see where they lead to. For me the what if’s that I tackle improve my view on things and provide me with energy and the necessary mojo to keep going, blogging, thinking, connecting and just being me. I’m planning to tackle some more what if’s. Normally Belgium should get a SAP Insidetrack event still this year (October 2011) Martin Gillet and me are working hard to make it happen. More news on that will follow soon.

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
  • Hey Tom,

    I am reading first blog which does not contain basis stuff from your side...Its pretty good blog to start morning with. I so much agree that starting work, or atleast the day, early in the morning keeps one motivated throughout the day.



  • The Stories from me:

    I was working on a project.  I was testing a program with the help of a business user.  She was wonderful.  She found things that I missed.  Because of her the program went in with a lot less errors.  And so I found out who her boss was.  Then I sent him an e-mail and copied her, and the project manager.  She sent me a note back.  Her supervisor had gotten the e-mail during an upper management meeting.  So she got congratulated from a bunch of different people.  She must have thanked me a million times.  But why, I thought - still think, she was doing a great job, and so - I just said what she was doing.

    I also try to write a thankful list around Thanksgiving.  Most of the people don't know how to respond.  The ones that do "play it forward" and thank those that did something that really affected them during the year.  I can't possibly send that list to everyone, but I try to hit most of the people that I can.

    So let me start a little early:

    Thank you - Tom!

    For all the blogs you write.
    All the comments you leave.
    All the times you make me think.
    All the times we debate.
    The blogs that we coordinated on - that was something new.

    Thank you - I know I appreciate it!


    PS Outside my comfort zone.  Not really.  But I'll think about what I can do.

    By the way - what if Tom had never started blogging?

    • Hello Michelle

      Thanks for your comment and sharing your stories with us.

      Nice idea on the thankful list.

      I love how you comment on many blogs, it really makes a difference in this community to keep people going and it fuels them to do more.

      SCN would not be the same without you.

      Kind regards


      PS: we should collaborate again sometime, I'll contact you with some ideas 🙂