As an introvert, I love my comfort zone. It’s warm and cozy, there are no people around, and there’s plenty of snacks. But despite how much I enjoy being comfortable, I know that staying there indefinitely isn’t realistic or healthy.
I always want to be in a state of growth and development. But stepping out of the comfort zone is a very uncomfortable feeling. Why would I willingly subject myself to something unpleasant, in order to attain some elusive ideal? But at the same time, pushing beyond my physical and mental boundaries has always lead to positive things. Even if the experience didn’t go well, I’ve always been able to learn something.
Whether its public speaking, performances, or just introducing yourself to a stranger, stepping out of your comfort zone can be intimidating. Here are a few things that have helped me in my own journey.
1. Plan, plan, plan.
This is an introvert’s strength. We’re quite good at plotting things out. While life doesn’t always give us this option, if you have the chance, take advantage of it. Putting yourself out there takes a lot of energy, and since we have a limited amount of said energy, we need to store it up beforehand. Ensure you have ample quiet time before the event or experience to mentally prepare. You can always go back to your comfort zone afterwards.
2. Just do it.
Any kind of public speaking or performance never fails to set my nerves on edge. But once it’s time, go out there and own it. Just focus on the task at hand and crush it! Do your best, that’s all anyone can ask of you.
3. Recovery time.
Guess what? You just did the scary and intimidating thing! That’s awesome and it took a lot of courage. Regardless of how it turned out, you took a step forward and that’s the important thing. Allow yourself some time to relax and recharge. Run yourself a bubble bath or watch your favourite movie. You did well. Try not to focus too much on how things went (this is hard) and just enjoy the relief of having finished the task.
Once some time has passed, go over the experience objectively. What did you learn? Did it go well? Did everything fall apart? What would you change if you did it again? What do you know now that you didn’t before? Be sure to focus on the positive (while being realistic) rather than getting discouraged if it didn’t go as planned. You’ll find that the more you put yourself out there, the easier it is next time!
Do you have anything to share?