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Moving to a new city; trying a new cuisine; going back to school. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be scary, but experts agree that trying new things is a surefire way to grow, both personally and professionally.

“If all you ever do is strive to stay wrapped up in your little cocoon, keeping warm and cozy,” says psychiatrist Dr. Abigail Brenner, “you may be missing out on quite a lot?—?no new experiences, no challenges, and no risks.”

With the warm weather and extra free time, summer is the perfect season to break out of your shell. Expand your horizons or pursue your longtime dreams by enrolling in one of Wade College’s design and merchandising programs for the summer semester. Even for the risk-averse among us, trying something new (while investing in your education) can improve your life in ways you’d never imagined.

You’ll build confidence

Proving to yourself that you have the courage to step outside of your comfort zone can do wonders for your self-esteem. If you’re feeling stuck in an “I can’t” mindset, build confidence by challenging yourself to learn a new skill, take an interesting class or travel to a new place.

If you’ve ever been told that you can’t finish your education or you can’t have the career of your dreams, this is your chance to prove those naysayers wrong.

Unsplash /Julian Santa Ana

You’ll become fearless

Even if you’re not instantly successful at the new venture you take on, failing at the little things in life will make you less afraid of failing at life’s bigger challenges. Whether you’re changing careers or learning how to surf, stumbling early on in the process can make you resilient and help you persevere to the end of your goal.

You’ll find new opportunities

“If you make mistakes or don’t get it right the first time there’s always these experiences you’ve had to tap into for the future,” says Dr. Abigail Brenner. “There really is no such thing as “fail” if you got something out of the experience.”

The best part of putting yourself out there is creating the potential for exciting things to happen. You never know what new paths will unfold, which new people will enter your life or what skills may come in handy down the line. You just have to take that first step.

You’ll develop a thirst for knowledge

“Learning a lasting new skill?—?be it playing guitar or learning to speak a foreign language?—?can harness the brain’s joy of learning new things,” says cognitive psychologist Gary Marcus, “It leaves you with a sense of fulfillment, which goes back to what pioneering psychologist Abraham Maslow called ‘self-actualization.’”

In short, trying one new thing?—?like learning how to sew or taking a marketing class?—?can open up your mind to a world of possibilities you hadn’t considered before. The satisfaction you get from learning something new only pushes you to keep striving for more.

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You’ll have fewer regrets

We all have those moments where we kick ourselves for saying something stupid. But more often than not, our biggest regrets come not from what we did, but from what we didn’t do. As Professor Andy Molinsky puts it, “Without the skill and courage to take the leap, we can miss out on important opportunities for personal growth and career advancement.”

Have you always dreamed of becoming a fashion mogul or an interior designer? The surest way to avoid that lingering feeling of a life half-lived is to get out there and work toward your goals every day. What are you waiting for?

Ready to get out of your comfort zone and jumpstart your career this summer? Enroll in one of Wade College’s interdisciplinary merchandising and design programs this summer to take charge of your future. You won’t regret it.