Right before Blissdom Canada this year, I shared a post talking about how I’ve been trying to “be braver”, especially in my business. Breaking out of your comfort zone is never easy. I mean, they call it a comfort zone for a reason right? Here are some things I’ve learned from Blissdom – this year, past years, and from Blissdom opening me up to possibilities beyond the bliss.
I once read in O Magazine, “Pushing past your comfort zone takes practice.” That was a great starting point for me. I’m a teacher by profession and was always telling my students that with most new concepts and skills, we don’t just “get them” right off the bat. They require practice. We have to do them again and again and perhaps even turn them into a habit in order to perfect them. Why should risk taking be any different?
So, how to begin? Well, I started by identifying areas in my life where there was a longing. It might be that I felt that i was not being my best in a certain area or it might be that I was, but simply wanted more or wanted to go in another direction. My focus was on my business but you can use this for any areas in your life – spiritual, financial, health – you name it.
Since I was focused on my business (specifically, my blog), I made a list of things that I wanted to do related to that but was afraid to try. This could be pitching brands, it could be asking to contribute on bigger blogs, it could be applying to be a speaker at a conference or other blogging event. Marianne Williamson once said that we don’t serve the world or ourselves by playing small. I asked myself, what could I accomplish if I overcame the fear, put the pedal to the metal, and just went for it? Who could I be? Where could I go? I know one thing’s for sure. Without pushing past your comfort zone and TRYING, you might not ever get anywhere.
I took that list and started with the 4 things that seemed the “easiest” – baby steps, you know. I wrote them into my calendar – one per week. I scheduled them in – time and date just as if they were “real” appointments because they were. They were appointments with myself and my dreams. I vowed to keep those appointments. I promised myself I would treat them with the same importance that I would an appointment with a client. Some of my baby steps included what I did at Blissdom Canada. I remember some people saying to me, “I read your blog post about being shy, but look at you! No one who dresses up like that could be shy!” Ah, but dressing up for the parties was a strategy. I knew that what I was wearing would draw attention and that’s exactly why I did it. People would start a conversation with me about my outfit, it would break the ice for me, and then I could feel comfortable talking with them.
I found myself an accountability buddy. This wasn’t someone to nag and harass me – but still, I was asking this person to take some time out of her own life to give me a nudge. I tried to make sure I wasn’t wasting her time. She reminded me about my upcoming “appointments”, I’d send her a rough draft of a plan or an email I intended to send out and we’d meet over Skype to discuss it. Of course, this isn’t necessary but it helped me to have another voice besides my own, cheering me on and encouraging me to take just one more step.
All of this was a great way for me to get started. It didn’t seem as overwhelming because I was making a plan and breaking it all down into smaller steps. I scheduled it into my calendar so that there was structure to that plan and it didn’t just get pushed down the to do list over and over again. I had my cheering section to give me a reminder and push in the right direction – if I started procrastinating (out of fear), she would always ask me, “What are you waiting for?”
So, now I’m asking you – what are YOU waiting for?
PS – major brave moment for me is a) letting people take all of these photos of me and b) sharing those photos here.