It’s funny how things can happen and you sense they were meant to happen for a reason, and usually they happen at just the right time! I’m a great believer in things happening for a reason and I’m about to tell you briefly about such an occasion that occurred for me just this week. Without going into all the detail, a few days ago I came into contact with a lovely local woman who told me of a local ‘women in business networking morning tea event’ that was on this morning and invited me to come along.
My first reaction was one of ‘oh no I couldn’t possibly walk into an event on my own where I don’t know anyone and besides – my business isn’t even really up and running yet’ but then my sensible self waved a finger at myself and said “Oh for goodness sake Min! This would be a great opportunity to meet and network with other local women in business and you really need to stretch that comfort zone if you’re to do what you want to do”!! I can be very sensible at times I must say, so I listened to my sensible voice!
You see, since I left my corporate life, my comfort zone bubble has reduced quite a bit. I am at home a lot more than I ever used to be. Where once I was interacting with numerous people on a daily basis, nowadays I interact with my family, friends occasionally, and lots of other people – but from behind a computer screen!
When you allow your comfort bubble to reduce, it requires discomfort to stretch it and to widen that comfort zone bubble again.
What is your comfort zone? Comfort Zone is defined by Wikipedia as a behavioral state with which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk. If we stay in our comfort zone, we do not grow as a person or in whatever we do we will only be stagnant. So, it is in my best interest to start stretching out my comfort zone bubble!
This morning I woke feeling anxious. My heart was racing faster than usual and my head ached. It was expected – because to stretch the comfort zone requires some discomfort and there was my discomfort. Ta da! I knew I’d be fine. I don’t have business cards printed yet but I made up some makeshift ones on my computer and printer last night and had them ready to hand out if I needed them (and it turned out that I did!). I was ready and so off I went.
When I first walked in I spotted a lady I know. She sold our house many years ago and also helped us buy our current house. I immediately felt better in seeing a familiar face. I needn’t have worried though because all the women there were so friendly and welcoming. I ended up having a fabulous time. I met some wonderful local women with a diverse range of talents and businesses. We all stood up one at a time to quickly provide a brief overview of what we do. I am not comfortable with public speaking but did my best even though I felt knots in my chest. The funny thing is that almost every women I spoke to said they felt the same when they got up to speak but you would never have known! They said that when I spoke I came across as natural, calm and warm. It was an aha moment for me to realise that we are all human and that we all have similar fears and insecurities and that I shouldn’t always think that it is just me that can be this way. I left with a pocket full of business cards, some new friends, lots of contacts of people who can help me with my business plans and a spring in my step knowing that I am not so alone or isolated with my dreams for the future!
This was the last event for this group for 2014 but I’m really looking forward to 2015 and future events and getting to know my new friends better! Hooray for women’s groups!
What about you – Do you have conversations with yourself like I did? Do you listen to your sensible voice or your silly voice? Have you stretched your comfort zone bubble lately? How did it go?
Ciao for now,
This post is linked up with With Some Grace’s #FYBF
I love this Min. I am a big believer in stretching your comfort zone bubble, in any area of life, the preparation may not always be fun but I usually find that I come out the other side with many lessons learnt and a “so glad I did that” attitude.
Thank you Beth! You are right – stretching that comfort zone bubble usually results in a “so glad I did that” attitude. It certainly did in my case today. You’ve got to push through the discomfort and eventually there will be no discomfort … until you decide to stretch a little further or in a different direction next time 😉
Yay for you going to that meet up. I wish I had something like that- maybe will look into a local one for 2015. I used to go to a group I found on flying solo but it was both do-ed and disbanded when the host moved (it was at her house but a formal meeting). Anyway I feel I am constantly stepping out of comfort these days and then retreating/ regrouping and then another step out etc. good on you making up the cards as well. I have not even done that yet lol.
Thanks Deb – I think if anyone can understand how pleased I feel with myself for having pushed through the discomfort it might be you! I completely understand about the retreating/regrouping and then another step out because I am the same. The cards I made up were just makeshift ones on paper – I’d better get myself organised and get some real ones done! 😉 x
Stretching my comfort bubble is something I would love to do more of in 2015. I can’t wait to get to some bloggers meets. I have got a little too comfy.
I need to do it more too Kaz. I haven’t been to a blogger meet up in a long time! I haven’t heard of any or haven’t been invited to them. Maybe I will have to organise one myself in the new year!
Great post and well done to you.
I like to throw myself out there when I feel terror and apprehension. It has always seemed to work for me and brought me great things.
I hope many great things come of it for you (and I am sure they will ;D).
Thanks Jody – yep there was some fleeting moments of terror I must admit. My comfort zone bubble has shrunk a lot over the last couple of years. The funny thing is that once I was there, seated and chatting away ALL the anxiety and fears dropped away and I felt relaxed and enjoyed myself. It goes to show how much rubbish we build up in our own minds! 😉
Good on you for taking the plunge Min! Isn’t it funny that we are usually our own worst critics!
Ta Steph! Yes I think most of us are more critical of ourselves then others would be but I think this was more about fear. Fear of looking stupid in front of others, fear of judgement, fear of success (believe it or not!), fear of moving forward basically and stretching that comfort zone bubble. It’s an interesting phenomenon that is for sure! lol 😉
That is awesome, good on you for getting out of your comfort zone.
II don’t get out of mine very much!!
Thanks Ann – you should give it a try now and then. They say amazing things can happen when you do! 😉
Great post and well done for getting out there. I’ve always operated outside my comfort zone, that I’m not really sure where it is anymore. Most people assume I’m a confident extrovert when really I’m an introvert that is probably just as nervous in a room full of new faces as the next person.
Thanks Raychael! Good for you for always operating outside your comfort zone and being aware that you’re doing that! Some people could think I am an extrovert because in a social setting I can come across that way at times. I can be quite chatty – but I am very much an introvert! I draw my energy from time alone/solitude and need that time to recharge. Extroverts draw their energy from being around other people. I think in my younger days I was sort of on the cusp of introvert/extrovert but as I’ve got older my introvert side has become much stronger! 😉
Good on you Min – it is a funny thing. You would think as we get older and have more experience of stepping out of our comfort zone over many years that it would get easier. But for me at least, my brain seems to focus in on what I’m doing now that might limit my circumstances, rather than remembering all that I’ve done before. I’ve chosen a ‘less than’ job for now, to make family and other things my priorities – I don’t get as much opportunity to network and I have to stop myself from feeling ‘less than’. The truth is I can be all that I was before, as confident as I was before, I just need to remember.
Thanks Kathy – yes it is very interesting that as I get older, my comfort zone gets smaller. I used to be the young girl who was always out partying and enjoyed having fun. My fears were less and my comfort zone was HUGE! It’s due to this fact that I am trying to create a life that suits this older me better than the life I created for the younger version of myself. My confidence in myself isn’t what it used to be when I was in the corporate world (which was only a couple of years ago) and I guess that is because what I’m doing now is solitary and I have no ‘workmates’ to get that feedback, support and vibe from that I used to. I have to rely entirely on myself for all that I used to get in a workplace environment full of work colleagues. It’s interesting really! 😉
It’s the best feeling, isn’t it? I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone. It took a while to build the confidence but now I’ve learnt there’s nothing to worry about. Good for you!
Thanks Eva – it’s funny because in earlier years I was never even aware of having a comfort zone – apart from keeping myself away from scary or threatening situations – i.e. in my comfort zone in a safety kind of way. This new kind of comfort zone bubble that I’m aware of now has come about as I’ve got older and more so since I left the corporate world and my bubble shrunk. It did feel good to stretch it – even with the discomfort because that was only in the lead up. It quickly disappeared once I was there. I’ll keep on doing it because I know it’s worth it … but I’ll space each stretch out a bit for a while I think! 😉
Isn’t it an amazing feeling when we throw ourselves out of the comfort zone?! And oh yes! I always get feelings of anxiety before I get to an event. I don’t know what it is…a bit of excitement for the unknown, perhaps?
I never would have guessed that you might feel some anxiety before an event Grace, but then again one of the good things about getting older is that it comes with some wisdom and the knowledge that all of us have little fears and insecurities that are mostly unseen or known of by others. 😉 x