Courtney Edmonds is a social media specialist for the Kennedy Brownrigg Group.

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Yesterday, I went out to lunch with my future in laws.  The consensus was that we should eat at a nearby Chinese restaurant.

As I sat down next to my fiancés 11-year-old niece, I was reminded of my first Chinese food experience.  I was a pizza eating 8 year old when my mom dragged me into Panda Garden for the first time.  I remember the experience like it was yesterday.  I remember how awestruck I was at the fluorescent colored sauces, chopsticks and veggie sculptures.  My dad ordered a plate of the sweet and sour chicken and my mom, the moo shoo pork complete with steaming tortillas and plum sauce. I sat, mouth wide, as my sister gulped down egg drop soup and crunched away on a crab rangoon.  Despite my parents coaxes to “just try it, you might like it”, taking that first bite was literally agony.
I was snapped out of my daydream by my sister-in-law to be.  “Have you ever tried sushi?” Looking around at the table, I was relieved to know that I wasn’t the only person who hadn’t ‘given it a shot’.  “No, raw fish doesn’t do it for me… neither does seaweed. I think I’ll pass,” I said.
In the meantime, my future mother in law looked at her daughter skeptically as did everyone else at the table.  “You all should try it, it’s very good, especially with soy sauce,” she said, trying to convince us to widen our horizons.  Looking down at my plate of sweet and sour chicken, I had an epiphany of sorts… how many times had I eaten at a Chinese restaurant since I was 8 years old– and how many times out of those had I tried something new?
What a good lesson for us!  How many times in our lives do we idly go from one task to the other without looking for new opportunities to increase our scope of experience?  In ministry or in marketing, we can miss out on a lot when we habitually return to the same old bag of tricks time after time.  Yes, it can be unsettling to pursue the unknown, especially when money is involved- but I would argue that it is completely necessary.
And we have no excuses! We live in an age where information is literally at our fingertips.  Digital information breeds innovation and creation unlike any invention before it.  Don’t know how to do something or where to start?  Google it!  And while being ‘cutting edge’ these days can seem an overwhelming endeavor– we must acknowledge that ‘not growing’ is not and option.
So here is your challenge: take out a piece of scratch paper and jot down a ‘professional first’ that you would like to achieve by the end of the month.  Is there something that is intimidating you– social media perhaps, public speaking, writing your first blog?  We all hate facing up to our inadequacies but how else do we make the unnatural, natural?

“So are you going to try it?” Once again I’m snapped back to reality.  In front of me sits a raw piece of fish in a seaweed shirt and a sticky rice sweater.  In a moment of bravery, I pick up the bite size medallion and pop it in my mouth.  As I chomp, I am elated to know that I’ve taken a chance that has led to an education of sorts.  What I learned from my exploration?  I absolutely hate sushi.

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