Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

CommunityBeing tied to a comfort zone has been something top of mind for me lately. We all have those areas that we are comfortable in whether it is something we are used to doing in a particular way or certain tools we use despite those tools being several years old. I know for myself; we enjoy being there – comfort is everything we are trying to achieve in our lives. It is safe, reliable, and doesn’t require much effort.

Yet, by staying in our comfort zone, we stop growing, innovating and helping others, organizations, and ourselves to achieve new heights. If we simply keep doing the things we have always done, nothing will improve or get better. It is time to look beyond the comfortable thing to do and stretch ourselves.

“Step out of your comfort zone. Comfort zones, where your unrealized dreams are buried, are the enemies of achievement. Leadership begins when you step outside your comfort zone.”Roy T. Bennett

This has never been more needed than right now when we are at a fantastic tipping point in technology and automation. We are seeing greater adoption of network programmability driven by NETCONF & YANG than ever before. It is clear that we need to take time out of our comfortable lives to learn new technologies in order to move away from doing the same thing in the same way in order to improve both ourselves and our results.

In some cases, we are forced out of our comfort zones because the industry changes the standards and requires greater capabilities. I commented on this fact in my last blog post “Programmability: It’s Not Just a Checklist Item Anymore” where an RFP from a US School District not only asked for automation and programmability at a high level but also got into specifics of supporting NETCONF and YANG.

In the not so long ago past, looking at and scripting to CLIs was the way everything got done on the network. This was comfortable (and may still be to some of you) but does not really work for automating provisioning and orchestrating new elements and services into the network. There are many who still want to stay in this comfortable CLI world and, as a result, are stuck and are not innovating at the speed they could be with automation and programmability. By stepping out of the comfort zone and evolving and moving on to new understandings and new ways of doing and looking at things, the result will be new and improved techniques and methods that advance the network. I guarantee that investing in and learning programmability driven by NETCONF and YANG will pay huge dividends.

I talked about this a little more in a previous blog “Network Engineers become Network Programmers” The days of only needing to know the CLI to do things is long gone. As the network evolves to meet customer demands we have to do the same and programmability and automation are part of this evolution. Staying complacent inside a comfort zone is a recipe for stagnation and obsolescence of the network. Those that take the step outside their comfort zone achieve much better results and outcomes. Let’s do as the inspirational author Shannon L. Alder recommends – “Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.”

In the network element and device world, programmability can be daunting and something not easy to step into or take on mostly because of the need to step out of our comfort zone and learn something new: NETCONF & YANG. The good news is that both of these were designed to be easy to learn, especially for those that understand network orchestration and management. Once learned, you can easily apply it to your solutions making connectivity to other network elements much easier.

At the end of the day, by moving forward and leaving your comfort zone behind, you will advance your career with new knowledge and become the change leader in your organization to advance and innovate solutions and services. By doing new things in new ways, you add value beyond simply getting a task done – you create business advantages and cost savings.

To help you step out of your comfort zone here are a few ways to learn and evolve:

  1. NETCONF & YANG Automation Testing Demo:
  2. Enabling Network Programmability and Automation whitepaper:
  3. Programmability in 5G Networks whitepaper:
  4. Managing Distributed Systems Using Transactions whitepaper:

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