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Judy Goldberg Of Wondershift On How to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone To Grow Both Personally and…

Judy Goldberg Of Wondershift On How to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone To Grow Both Personally and Professionally

An Interview with Maria Angelova

Suppose you aim to enhance your public speaking skills but feel apprehensive. Finding a speaking coach or trusted colleague can help you establish specific goals and help you navigate challenges and remain committed to staying focused and motivated.

It feels most comfortable to stick with what we are familiar with. But anyone who has achieved great success will tell you that true growth comes from pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. What are some ways that influential people have pushed themselves out of their comfort zone to grow both personally and professionally? As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Judy Goldberg, Founder of Wondershift.

Judy Goldberg is the founder of Wondershift LLC, specializing in organizational development and results-driven transformation. Integrating a variety of assessments, such as Emergenetics, Judy provides individual coaching for high performers and both designs and facilitates impactful leadership experiences, interactive virtual sessions, and high level strategy retreats. With 30+ years of experience, Judy is a highly sought-after thought leader, known for her balance of accountability and warmth, ability to foster human connection and her unique style of guiding leaders, enhancing business performance and fostering highly engaged teams.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

My mom would tell you I was headstrong, a bit intense, had to do it my way, and at times impatient. Fortunately, I have tempered much of that, but as a child, those attributes were part of my creative nature. Crayons, colored pencils and sketch pads filled with drawings and doodles accompanied me wherever I went and I was a particular fan of anything tactile and textured. For my friends and neighbors, I set up classrooms in my basement where we could all learn together. This love of creativity and learning all provide the foundation for my company, Wondershift.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My friend’s grandmother left me with a meaningful quote I turn to quite often. She shared, “Let your life be like a snowflake, leave a mark but not a stain.”

This particular quote comes to play quite often in my work at Wondershift and in life. In working with leaders, they often bring preconceived biases about leadership to their roles. Those biases may be authoritarian or dictatorial in nature. However, today’s teams are looking more for purposeful, impactful leadership. It’s not as necessary as it may have been in the past for a leader to come in hot. They can, as the quote says, enter like a snowflake — perfectly capable of leaving a positive impact all while preserving and enhancing everything in their path.

Separately, when I was six years old, a caregiver shared the poem below with me. The poem rests on my bookshelf, where I can read it daily. It reminds me no matter the circumstances, we all have a choice to start with a smile and share it with others. This is the foundation of my own professional style, which tends to be warm in nature and which contributes to positive, impactful dialogue with clients and teams across the globe.

The Value of a Smile

It costs nothing, but creates much.

It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.

It happens in a flash & the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

It cannot be begged, borrowed, or stolen, but it is of no earthly good to anyone until it’s given away.

So, if in your hurry you run across someone too weary to smile — leave one of yours.

No one needs a smile as much as those who have none to give.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Despite being originally published in 1955, “Harold and the Purple Crayon” is a timeless book by Crockett Johnson that teaches a valuable lesson about taking charge of one’s own story.

What I love about the book is how Harold navigates through various challenges by drawing his solutions. Armed with his purple crayon, he creates a whole world of adventures simply by drawing. It highlights the importance of critical thinking and resourcefulness to solve challenges and conveys a positive message about resilience, adventure, and the limitless possibilities of the mind.

This narrative not only celebrates imagination and problem solving, it also resonates deeply with my own journey of launching, adjusting, and experimenting with possibilities.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Let’s start with a basic definition so that all of us are on the same page. What does “getting outside of your comfort zone” mean?

Venturing beyond your comfort zone involves embracing novel challenges or experiences that extend beyond your routine. Living outside our comfort zone can elicit feelings of discomfort, fear, and even occasional grief. While it can be distressing, it’s actually a critical piece of growth. I always recommend, as clients get outside their comfort zone, that instead of dismissing or suppressing such emotions, that they acknowledge accompanying emotions as genuine and valid. This is how they unlock the real power of getting outside their comfort zone.

I should also share that the power of getting outside one’s comfort zone is personal. What may be novel for some is old news for others. So my other piece of counsel when clients consider leaving their comfort zone is to avoid all comparison to preconceived notions, to peers, etc.

Can you help articulate a few reasons why it is important to get out of your comfort zone?

  • Expanded Networks: Getting out of our comfort zone can enlarge your circle of influence and connections, which is vital for leadership growth.
  • Personal Growth: Getting out of our comfort zone will challenge ingrained beliefs, which may uncover strengths and limitations, and therefore foster internal growth.
  • Overcoming Limits: Getting out of our comfort zone helps overcome internal barriers, and pushing beyond self perceived limitations.
  • Self-Discovery: Getting out of our comfort zone often reveals hidden capabilities, allowing you to discover untapped potential and abilities you never knew existed.

Is it possible to grow without leaving your comfort zone? Can you explain what you mean?

Absolutely! Growth isn’t solely reliant on leaving one’s comfort zone. It’s possible to foster personal development by deepening expertise in areas of passion or by acquiring new skills within familiar territories.

Fearless experimentation and application of knowledge obtained through listening and learning can also drive growth, potentially leading to the evolution of beliefs and continuous personal development.

Can you share some anecdotes from your personal experience? Can you share a story about a time when you stepped out of your comfort zone and how it helped you grow? How does it feel to take those first difficult steps?

Shifting out of one’s comfort zone is just like a toddler exploration into new territories. It feels uncomfortable and unsteady but incredibly exciting. When I founded Wondershift, it was incredibly scary. I left behind everything that was familiar. I even went so far as to create a risk-mitigation plan including a list of friends who had extra beds and couches in case the revenue didn’t pan out!

That said, I found myself giddy at the prospects of solopreneurship and empowered by what I was able to build. Piece by piece, I was learning new skills and accelerating progress. Here I am, ten years later, incredibly proud for shifting out of my comfort zone, rewarded for the opportunity to partner with my clients and empowered to create Wondershift’s next ten years!

What are your “five ways to push past your comfort zone, to grow both personally and professionally”?

  1. Take the First Move.

Oftentimes, we think making the first move is hardest so we stay in our current position. In actuality, not doing is harder than doing. To stay stagnant yields less rewards and benefits than moving forward. It’s like an athlete. To stay static will eventually mean the body can atrophy or lose progress. However, to move is to make progress. So first, you have to be willing to shift.

2. Do One Thing Differently.

Start small by isolating one action that will move you forward into the unknown. For example, if someone wants to move out of a home they have always known and nervous about making this commitment, they might start by driving a different route to work that takes them through new neighborhoods and observe how they feel when driving this route.

3. Visualize What Doing Looks Like.

When faced with fear, close your eyes and create a picture of what success in a given situation looks like. Keep the visual present, use it to propel yourself forward and shift yourself towards realization. An example of this is networking with new people and seeing yourself meeting one new person and engaging in conversation.

4. Make A Commitment.

What is the promise you will make that holds you accountable to action? It doesn’t have to be long, lofty or unachievable. In fact, it’s better if it’s specific, measurable and actionable. Write it down, put it in a visible place and once achieved, write down your next commitment.

5. Invest in a coach and accountability partner.

Suppose you aim to enhance your public speaking skills but feel apprehensive. Finding a speaking coach or trusted colleague can help you establish specific goals and help you navigate challenges and remain committed to staying focused and motivated.

In my experience, several common barriers prevent individuals from venturing beyond their comfort zones.

  • Fear: Often stemming from the unknown or potential failure, fear acts as a significant deterrent.
  • Self-doubt: A lack of self-confidence can also hold people back, making them hesitant to take risks or explore new opportunities.
  • Negative past experiences: Particularly those associated with failure or criticism, negative past experiences can create mental barriers, hindering progress.
  • Perfectionism: Striving for flawless outcomes may lead to hesitation or avoidance of new challenges.
  • Feeling unsupported: Lacking a reliable support system can impede one’s willingness to step into unfamiliar territory.
  • Anxiety: Arising from the anticipation of discomfort or uncertainty, anxiety can prevent individuals from embracing change or new experiences.

There is a well-known quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt that says, “Do something that scares you every day”. What exactly does this mean to you? Is there inherent value in doing something that pushes you out of your comfort zone, even if it does not relate to personal or professional growth? For example, if one is uncomfortable about walking alone at night should they purposely push themselves to do it often for the sake of going beyond their comfort zone? Can you please explain what you mean?

Moving out of your comfort zone and putting yourself into a risky situation can appear similar, but they differ significantly. What we’re talking about here is approaching situations with awareness — weighing its potential risks and benefits.

Moving out of your comfort zone involves intentionally doing something that feels unfamiliar, challenging, or slightly uncomfortable. It is not necessarily reckless or dangerous. It often involves trying new experiences, taking calculated risks, or facing challenges to expand your skills, knowledge, or perspective. By moving out of your comfort zone, you can build confidence, resilience, adaptability, broaden your horizons, and discover your capabilities.

Putting yourself into a risky situation that truly scares you involves knowingly engaging in actions that carry a significant chance of negative consequences or harm. Moving into these situations may be thrill-seeking, could meet a need for impulsivity or may achieve quick gains without considering potential downsides. The impact could lead to physical, emotional, financial, or reputational risks.

The key difference between the two lies in one’s intention, awareness of potential consequences, and focus on personal growth and development.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would be keen to inspire a movement to solve for food insecurity and establish lasting, sustainable outcomes bringing benefits to millions. With collaboration and a passion for integrated solutions, I think we can look across urban planning, supporting small scale farmers, education and nutrition programs, advocacy and policy changes, partnerships to enhance food distribution networks and more.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Michele Obama

Viola Davis

How can our readers follow you online?

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at To schedule a free consultation, click here.

Judy Goldberg Of Wondershift On How to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone To Grow Both Personally and… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.