Beyond Your Comfort Zone-Day 1 of my Middle Eastern Travel

<blog dedicated to my Business Fellowship Travel for the month of October. Pls follow me on this remarkable  journey.>

Advancement  in growth is often achieved when you are in situations beyond your comfort zone.    I’m just completing Day 1 of the Business for Diplomatic Action(BDA) Fellowship program.  BDA is a two way exchange between Arabs and Americans with the ultimate goal of breaking down stereotypes, better understanding each other’s cultures and building bridges to the world.  No, not all Arab women wear head wraps and not all Americans dine on fast food 24X7.

Today’s activities opened dialogue that will aid in this quest for the truth and clarity that we are more alike than we are different.  We are not one size fit all and our differences can be used to make us stronger. We have a wonderful group of fellows with so many different backgrounds.  I was frankly amazed at the various experiences, education and travel contained in one room.  We covered all kinds of topics as we were getting acquainted including head wraps or not, women in the work place in Dubai, who extends the hand shake first and locations where women do not shake hands with men.  True to form, there were vast differences in cultures between a south carolinian and fellows from Iowa that were worthy of discussion as well.  

It dawned on me that I have never traveled to Iowa.  Here I find myself headed to Dubai and Egypt; yet never traveled to Iowa.  I bet there is a ton of culture for me to experience in Iowa.  I’ll add that to my bucket list.

The factoids for today that resonated most are 55% of an opinion that people form about you in the first 30 seconds is based on how we look and more importantly 85% of your job success is connected to your people skills.

So getting out of your comfort zone may require us all to connect beyond our typical network.  I’m so excited about this program giving me that opportunity. I can already see that Dubai is the place where people move to work.  Just like many of us move from rural towns to work in more technologically advanced areas, Dubai seems to be very similar in that way.  In talking with a fellow from Cairo, Egypt, this was not an easy transition for her or her family but one where she experienced a ton of growth.

What are some ways today that you can identify with that may get you out of your comfort zone?  That’s where your growth resides.  Let me know what you come up with and I’ll be checking back in when I arrive in Dubai.


  1. Diana Daggett Said,

    October 13, 2009 @ 6:18 pm


    Remind to expose you to the culture of Iowa. You can pose for a picture in front of the house in the Grant Wood painting, American Gothic. You can eat a canteen burger in Ottumwa. You can enjoy the some of the most beautiful fall leaves in the world. Oh…and did I say, the highest literacy rate in America? And GREAT women’s basketball.


  2. Barbara McAllister Said,

    October 13, 2009 @ 9:58 pm

    Diana- I will definitely take you up on your Iowa exposure invite. I’d love to hear more about and of course experience Iowa. Thank you for reading the blog and commenting. I had no idea you were connected to Iowa too. Way cool.

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