There is the road well travelled, a pair of comfy shoes, our spot on the sofa, a favourite jumper. Our comfort zones, so well named. What good happens in them?
Security. Peace of mind. Normality.
But what happens when we push ourselves out of our comfort zone?
When we take a chance and do something that challenges us?
Unusually for me (I love my comfort zone, and in recent times haven’t really pushed out of it) in the last week I have twice pushed out into the stretch zone.
First of all I attended an introduction to coaching course. 2 days, with a bunch of strangers. Nothing unusual there you may think. But I absolutely hate meeting new people, I usually do it when I have other people with me to lessen the impact, and give me my ‘security’. But for this I was alone.
Not only that but I then interacted with people, shared my story, spoke aloud with experiences and input into the sessions. To be fair the people were lovely, the trainers very good, and the atmosphere comfortable and supportive. But this was still a big step for me.
To speak normally at events like this I would need to build courage. In my head I would be thinking things like
What I am going to say is wrong
I’m going to sound silly
They all have better answers than me
What do I know, I’m no expert
But on this occasion I spoke out, said my piece, and you know what Nothing BAD happened. People agreed. Everything was good.
A passion of mine is supporting Small Independent Local businesses. I do this however I am able to. Sharing Social Media posts, connecting folks together, spreading word of businesses and events on line and by word of mouth.
So when a new local Tweet Hour was set up to support interaction and engagement with and between these businesses and their supporters I was interested. Very interested.
The first week I was engaged and joined in, then the second I promoted it and joined in bringing others into the conversation where relevant. A conversation with the organiser followed, and I agreed to guest host the third week.
Initially this sounds fine right. Guest Host. Think of a theme, pull together three questions to kick start the discussions and curate the conversation, welcoming people, liking, retweeting and replying to their comments to keep the discussion flowing.
Sounds like fun, worthwhile, a really good thing to do. Realistically, how hard could it be?
For most of the week that’s what I thought. I had promoted using my social channels, given view of the broad theme, and had discussions in real life with interested people. On Sunday I pulled together my questions, on pictures, and on Tuesday I drafted my tweets and saved them ready to go.
I had the pictures and a time line from the organiser so my running order was sorted. More importantly I was excited.
Then I got home from work on Tuesday, got myself set up
Laptop – Logged in and on charge
Mobile – Logged in and on charge
Running order printed and a pen to tick off when done (see how organised I am)
Photos and draft tweets saved in two places (just in case – not sure of what, but better safe than sorry right).
So now it is 4pm on Tuesday and my first action is not until 6:45pm. So now the anxiety kicks in.
What if no one interacts?
What if the interaction is all negative?
What if I don’t know what to say?
A LOT of what ifs were in my head
6:45 arrived, I started on my checklist. I logged in, I posted, and all is underway.
Then disaster I posted the wrong image and text, I put Q3 picture with Q1 text.
I felt a bit of a fool, deleted and reposted.
By this time the conversation was underway, people had joined, and were joining in. It is fairly safe to say it went a bit frenzied. Lots of comments, likes, retweets. A HUGE amount of interaction from lovely businesses, and even better, lots of lovely people wanting to support those businesses.
The hour passed in a blur, the conversations carried on for a few hours after. Some businesses (in the food and entertainment space) had missed out due to working, but joined in on Wednesday morning.
So what does this all mean?
Well, quite simply, everything went well. Twice I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and both times I was rewarded. Everything went well, nothing went wrong. But, I learned a lot. About subjects, about other people, about what a wonderful community I am part of in Reading.
Most of all about me. About my anxieties. About my talents and abilities.
Nothing bad happened, rather, I feel happy, good about myself and feel I have grown.
My question to you – what will you do to push out of your comfort zone?