Monday, February 22, 2016

Outside My Comfort Zone

As an undergraduate, I had an opportunity to intern at Wellness Corporate Solutions in Bethesda, Maryland. As a Wellness Coach intern, I authored blogs, newsletters, and webinars, I attended health fairs to promote healthy eating, and I taught fitness classes to clients’ employees. I was extremely excited to have another opportunity to intern at WCS during my dietetic internship; I could reconnect with familiar faces and exciting projects. However, already being there before, it was important to both my preceptors and I that I was exposed to different kinds of assignments to get the most out of my second experience. This is how I was introduced to Positive Psychology.

I was tasked with completing an hour-long seminar subjected in Positive Psychology in the workplace. Although I had no background in the topic, I researched and read online articles to put together an outline. Confidently, I requested a meeting with my preceptor to go over what I had finished so far. The feedback was honest and constructive, however, essentially tore my draft apart, one that I had spent hours on completing. It was the first time in a long time I felt frustrated in my own work. Although I initially perceived the feedback negatively, I decided to shift my mindset to see it as an opportunity to grow. It was time for a fresh start, not a defeat.

I realized that googling “Positive Psychology” or “How to be happy” wasn’t going to cut it. I downloaded podcasts from experts in Positive Psychology from the Ted Talk Channel. I listened everyday on my commute home on the metro and in the car. I read research articles and reviewed studies. I even finished an entire book by Shawn Achor, a Harvard researcher and expert in the field, titled “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work”.

Psychology goes hand-and-hand with Nutrition. Why people eat the way they do is an important factor in changing their food choices. I used to make excuses for myself, “I have a degree in Nutrition, not Psychology”, because it felt out of my comfort zone. I now realize that pushing myself into areas where I feel uncertain is how I will learn and benefit from these experiences the most.

The second time around, my outline hit the mark, and I was able to put together a seminar that would be taught to Discovery employees across America. I felt incredibly accomplished that I completed a product that the company was confident in, when I originally was not. Thank you Wellness Corporate Solutions for forcing me out of my comfort zone, I know I’ll be a better RD for it!

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