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Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone To Leave A Legacy


Michael Kurland is the CEO of Branded Group where he has led its cultural transformation, growth and creative social impact programs.

In celebration of a milestone birthday several years ago, I jumped out of a plane. At that time, this was the scariest activity I’d ever attempted, other than moving across the country to launch my business. I soon realized that the rewards of facing my fear far outweighed the risks.

I’d done a fair amount of research about skydiving, so I felt relatively prepared as I strapped on my suit and prepared to step out of the plane. I specifically focused on all of the positive outcomes and people’s inspiring reactions to their experiences, which boosted my confidence.

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

As hard as it is to believe, jumping out of a moving aircraft tens of thousands of feet above the earth seemed less frightening than embarking on my first book-writing project. Somehow the potential physical harm seemed to pale in comparison to the mental anguish I felt as I contemplated putting pen to paper to share my entrepreneurial journey.

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What became crystal clear to me, however, was that for years I’d been publishing articles and blog posts that detailed various aspects of the launch and growth of my business. In these pieces, I shared the lessons I was learning as a new CEO in an effort to help others, to give back.

In and of themselves, these pieces posed no real threat as they were shared with my team, colleagues and on social media. Yet opening myself up in print and then wrapping a book cover around it seemed daunting. Like every new author faced with putting their story out into the world, my mind was filled with “what if” questions like:

1. What if my story is not that interesting?

2. What if the lessons I learned and am sharing are not helpful?

3. What if no one likes the book?

Despite these and dozens of other what-if scenarios, I moved forward. I felt strongly that I wanted to share my experiences so that future entrepreneurs or business leaders could be inspired to “be better,” as I’d been.

So, you want to write a book. Now what?

Unlike the research I did for my skydiving experience, there was little preparation done prior to stepping into becoming an author other than making the decision to do so. I was feeling anxious about the process, as well as wondering how I would be able to balance writing a book with running my business.

My solution was the same as how I handled many of the challenges in my business. I enlisted a team of professionals and delegated. As a leader, it is important to know our strengths and weaknesses as well as those areas in which we are simply not knowledgeable. I hired a team of book-writing experts who worked hand in hand with my public relations team to walk me through the process.

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When the going gets tough, keep going.

The thought of writing a book is daunting, to say the least. Where to start? Once you do start, you continually ask yourself, “What did I get myself into?” During difficult stages like editing or selecting book titles and covers, you wonder how the project will turn out. It can be hard to see the forest for the trees as chapter after chapter gets closer to their final form.

However, doesn’t this mirror the path of the growth of your business? Each “spurt” poses new challenges as you work to figure out how to handle each situation. Every new customer, every new program and even every new hire causes you to examine or reexamine your vision and purpose.

That’s where perseverance, tenacity and a great team can come in and help you to make the vision a reality. As I get closer to the publication of my book, I’m grateful for the entire process and the team who assisted me. I’ve learned some valuable lessons that I think are pertinent for every leader attempting a book-writing project or facing any other challenge.

1. Know your core values and stick to them so that your endeavor will be authentic and you will be true to yourself.

2. Identify the goal of the project, ensuring that it is one that will make a difference in others’ lives.

3. Be humble in whatever you are pursuing and strive to use your experience to help others.

You don’t have to go it alone.

I was guided through each step by professionals who can do this “in their sleep,” which greatly reduced my nervousness. The team kept me organized and handled the necessary details of manuscript development, editing and eventual publishing. With the tactics of the process well under control, I could focus on the actual content for the book.

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This correlates perfectly to my role as a CEO. As entrepreneurs, we each have a dream or vision of what we want our businesses to be. Yet we can’t accomplish all of it on our own. We need help. We need to rely on the expertise of our workforce, consultants and mentors. Sometimes the smartest decision we can make is asking for help.

No CEO, or new author for that matter, is an island. It takes a team to fulfill the dream. Thanks to a team of industry experts, my vision to build a business has been realized and, soon, my dream to publish a book will as well.

Writing this book has provided me an opportunity to be more vulnerable with my project team as well as future readers. I believe strongly in the message I am sharing and that there are other entrepreneurs, seasoned or newly minted, who will see themselves in my story.

My ultimate goal, and one that I think every CEO should have, is to help others be better in all of their personal and professional pursuits. The legacy we leave behind as business owners should influence and inspire future generations. When we step out of our comfort zones, surrounded by supportive teams, we can achieve anything we desire.


Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?


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