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The magic happens when you move out of your comfort zone

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Diversity and inclusion
Head and shoulders portrait image of Rose Odudu
Rose Odudu, Centre of Excellence Manager, Project Delivery, Ministry of Justice

Black History Month gives us a great opportunity to celebrate not just what we’ve achieved but the heights we can reach with determination and a positive attitude.

I was born in Nigeria to a Jamaican mum, a nurse, and a Nigerian dad, a chartered surveyor. I moved to the UK just before my 13th birthday. Before that, I went back and forth between Nigeria and the UK.

Although I’ve now spent most of my life in the UK, I feel a sense of being split into three separate identities. My Nigerian roots are still very strong, mixed in with great Jamaican influences from my maternal side. I also have a huge sense of pride in being British. The mixture of these three cultures has taught me how to be adaptable and resilient in ever-changing environments and cultures.

Life has also taught me that sometimes you must make the move before you think you’re ready. I like to push myself to new heights and the past few years have definitely been about that.

The first major challenge that brought me outside my comfort zone was applying for and getting a job in Ministerial Private Office as Assistant Private Secretary (APS) to Dominic Raab and Sam Gyimah, both then Justice ministers. I felt completely out of my depth. I had no idea what I was doing, and for the first time in my working career I was surrounded by people who didn’t look or talk like me.

I’ve now learnt that the magic happens when you get out of your comfort zone. When you refuse to listen to the negative voices, you gain personal growth. As a result, I’ve made new friends, learnt new skills and gained a wealth of experience.

Since then, I’ve completed three half-marathons (one running, the other two walking), climbed Mount Snowdon and been on many wonderful adventures.

Be willing to experiment and try new things. It’s always better to do something badly and develop, than not do anything and stay stagnant. The private office job, the half-marathons and climbing Mount Snowdon were all new to me, but I succeeded because I told myself that failure was not an option. I may not have been the best APS, or the fastest to run the marathon or climb the mountain, but I tried my best and finished my own race well.

Marcus Garvey once said: “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life, but with confidence, you have won even before you have started.”

So, let Black History Month inspire you to move out of your comfort zone, even before you think you are ready!

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  1. Comment by Tracy Phillips posted on

    A very uplifiting blog, Rose. Some things are easier said than done, but once they're done you wonder why you were hesitiant about taking that step!
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Comment by Olivea Ebanks posted on

    A really insightful piece. Thanks for sharing where the magic happens! Keep climbing and don't look down!

  3. Comment by Edward Ekpekurede posted on

    Totally agree Rose! The magic happens when you move out of your comfort zone. That's my theme for 2019! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Comment by Jo posted on

    Thank you Rose,
    you made me have an 'aha' moment:
    "It’s always better to do something badly and develop, than not do anything and stay stagnant."
    I'm always afraid of doing 'it' badly so this is going to be my new mantra.

  5. Comment by John Burey posted on

    Rose; thank you for this thought provoking and inspiring piece.

  6. Comment by Hetta Phipps posted on

    Good advice.

  7. Comment by Andrew Onobrakpeya posted on

    Rose, this is quite loaded. The choice is always ours whether we choose we move out of our comfort zone or remain. There is always gain in thinking " what next"!

    Thanks for this.

  8. Comment by Hannah Williams posted on

    Hi Rose, this spoke directly to me. I feel like my experience at the MoJ mirrors what you have so kindly shared. I'm feeling more inspired after reading your blog. Thank you!

  9. Comment by Mrs J Osei-Asante posted on

    Thanks Rose a very inspiring piece. Thanks for sharing. I am very proud of you

  10. Comment by Bessie Oyedeji posted on

    Brilliant and thought provoking piece. Two things that resonates with me are; First, “It’s always better to do something badly and develop, than not do anything and stay stagnant” Often times we are afraid of making mistakes and as a result we don't try to do new things. Second, “Sometimes you must make the move before you think you’re ready” This is so true and a reminder never to be comfortable in your comfort zone. Thanks for sharing Rose!!

  11. Comment by Sean Davin posted on

    Great blog Rose. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Comment by Liz Garlinge posted on

    Brilliant and inspiring read! You're a great role model for other women of colour who want to succeed. Keep talking about your successes - there's a whole generation waiting to learn from you.

  13. Comment by Newton Thompson posted on

    Insightful, highlighting the diverse make up of the African Diaspora. Thank you for Sharing a snippet of your life.

  14. Comment by Adebayo Abass posted on

    Very inspiring. Food for thought.

  15. Comment by Stuart Rawlins posted on

    Very well said. I particularly liked this sentence as it resonated with me a lot:

    "Life has also taught me that sometimes you must make the move before you think you’re ready."

    Too often we (and definitely I) sit back and think "I need to wait until I am ready", but then we never feel like we are ready as there is always something else we can develop or find that we think we need. Thank you for the reminder!

    Best wishes,


  16. Comment by Alison Wedge posted on

    Thanks Rose - excellent blog. The world needs people like you who are prepared to move out of their comfort zone to make a difference. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  17. Comment by Oludade Alade posted on

    Lovely and inspiring article Rose, Magic really happens when you move out of your comfort zone". True words and great example of resilience.

  18. Comment by Ajoke Adetunji posted on

    Beautiful piece and very inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Comment by Peter Osazuwa posted on

    Indeed magic does happen. A wise person once said, "nothing worth gaining is ever gained without effort". Sharing your story is a true testimony and inspirational, a very well done to you.

    Continue to stay true to yourself and keep on shining.

  20. Comment by Heather Yaxley posted on

    Amazing Rose! The magic does indeed happen when you are out of your comfort zone.

  21. Comment by Titilayo JOSHUA posted on

    Great. Thanks for sharing Rose. Am proud of you.

  22. Comment by Nike T posted on

    Well done Rose. Fantastic. Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  23. Comment by Elder william Odudu posted on

    This is inspiring especially for black people trying to make a difference in the Society in which they find themselves. You can rise to any level in any society if you are determined to achieve. Leave you comfort zone and make up your mind to succeed.
    If Obama can make it to the whiteHouse despite his parental background, you can make it anywhere.
    If you can succeed as APS IN THE UK, one day you can rise to become even a Minister if State in the Uk. Just be focused and determined to get there.
    I am proud of you Rose.

  24. Comment by Gary Badley posted on

    A fantastic and thought-provoking blog to celebrate Black History Month Rose!

    Thank you for sharing. Gary

  25. Comment by Tola Ayoola posted on

    Love this article Rose and thanks for sharing. There is a common thread I hear of colleagues who were born, raised and educated in a different countries, then influenced by different cultures telling more of their stories on resilience.