Late last year, Rachel Launders, the 363rd person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, was invited by the University of Sydney to address graduating students.

Rachel shared three life lessons with the students, one of which was to do things that make you uncomfortable.

In a nice piece of timing, I happened to send a cold message to Rachel just before her speech, asking her if she wanted to have lunch with me. “Why not!” she replied. “I’m giving a talk at a Sydney Uni graduation in a couple of days time and one of the things I’m going to tell the students is to do things that scare you from time to time, so I’ll take my own advice.”

Like me, Rachel is an introvert, so the thought of meeting a stranger for lunch was nerve-wracking, but she’s learned how much you can gain from doing uncomfortable things. For example, it felt uncomfortable to accept her current role, general counsel and company secretary at Nine, back in 2015, because she’d worked at Gilbert + Tobin for 16 years in a very different capacity and become a partner. But it turned out to be a great decision, because her job at Nine is very interesting and challenging.

The second life lesson Rachel shared with the students was that you don’t need to have a career plan. By remaining open to new experiences, Rachel has been able to take on several wonderful career opportunities that she never could’ve anticipated, including her role at Nine.

Rachel’s third piece of advice to the students was to give back to the community, because she believes anyone who’s been to university is privileged. Rachel has spent many years as a director of Giant Steps, a school for children and young adults with autism, and four years as a board member at City Recital Hall, an arts venue in the Sydney CBD. So she practises what she preaches.

If there’s a connecting thread with Rachel’s three pieces of advice, it’s that being the driver of your life is more fulfilling than being the passenger. And there’s nothing wrong with grabbing the wheel even if you don’t entirely know where you’re going.