For work I regularly need to dive into a new technology I’ve never used before, and often whatever project I’m working on depends solely upon my ability to go from zero to expert over the course of the project. It’s one of the things that makes this type of work engaging.

This week a couple of such projects have come up that have really catapulted my abilities forward, wrenching me out of the past and into current technologies.

Over the last month or so I’ve been wrestling with a .NET web application. I had really put off doing any significant work on .NET because I had been coding in classic ASP for so long I had become really good at it — in some cases even slamming out full web applications while operating in a meeting where the concept was still being vetted. For this project I knew I could do it the old tried and true way and do a great job. I even acknowledged that attempting the project with .NET on either forms or Razor would result in a less-polished final product due to my relative inexperience.

Still, something in me demanded that we move forward on the unfamiliar platform and trudge (not at all gracefully) on. Over these past few weeks I’ve watched a hopelessly useless app take shape into a working tool, and through the process learned how useful this platform can be once you understand how to use it. Today, a simple task like adding calendar controls was a task that took only minutes, where it would have taken hours using the old technology. The last month paid off in three simple textboxes.

With that under my belt I had much greater confidence in saying “no problem” when one of my web consulting clients asked me to set up a website for them. In this project I’m using entirely different platforms and control frameworks, but the experience I gained through pushing myself beyond my present understanding helped me take on the next challenge with enthusiasm and drive to succeed.

Getting out of our comfort zone often affords us comforts we didn’t even knew existed.

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