Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

“Nobody ever died of discomfort, yet living in the name of comfort has killed more ideas, more opportunities, more actions, and more growth than everything else combined. Comfort kills!” – T. Harv Eker

“Be uncomfortable. If something makes you uncomfortable, go do it.”  I’m a worrier by nature, so stepping outside my comfort zone is definitely not something I find easy, but I’m also somebody who wants to try new things or use the knowledge that I have to  make a difference. Balancing these two conflicting sides of my nature is difficult,  particularly when in a group situation.

No doubt these insecurities and fears that I have about upsetting other people have caused me to  hesitate before suggesting changes to the way things are done within my own Lions Club. But sometimes, despite these anxieties, I do offer an alternative perspective. This was the case recently when the view was being expressed that very few people were aware of Lions locally and that we needed to raise our profile.  As the issue was discussed  I found myself thinking about an article I’d read by Stephen Cowley. The story goes like this:

You come across someone working feverishly to saw down a tree with a blunt saw. “What are you doing?” you ask. “Can’t you see?” comes the impatient reply. “I’m sawing down this tree.”“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?” “Over five hours,” he returns, “and I’m beat!  This is hard work.” ‘Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?” you inquire. “I’m sure it would go a lot faster.” “I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing!”  We are often too busy trying to improve a situation the same way we’ve always done it, but how can it improve if nothing changes?

It struck me that as a club we were so busy trying to raise our profile the way we’ve always done that we weren’t considering augmenting that existing  promotional activity with other communication methods. I was reluctant to express my thoughts. Was I being arrogant thinking that my views had any validity? What if my ideas were tried and didn’t work? Would voicing my opinions make me seem like a heretic being dismissive and disrespectful to all that the club and members had achieved since its inception? On the other hand, having worked as a Marketing Manager I did have some knowledge of promotional activity and was aware that creating a Marketing Plan with clear objectives would be beneficial.

I’m an avid reader of quotations. I can nearly always recall a quote that helps me rationalise a situation. On this occasion an interview with Steve Jobs came to mind where he expressed the view that:

“Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you; and you can change it, you can influence it.”

Bolstered by this thought, I did make a suggestion that we should develop a Marketing Plan and that we should have someone facilitate the process. I was somewhat shocked when one member asked if I would undertake that facilitation, but reluctantly agreed to do it with the help of another member. I have to confess that I have neither facilitated a workshop before  nor had any training in presentation. I was really grateful for the assistance of my co-facilitator. I was definitely out of my comfort zone. I hate speaking in public. I’m not comfortable with responsibility. I worried that I might stutter and stammer my way through the process and meet with a wall of glazed expressions.

Despite all my reservations, stretching  my comfort zone and facilitating the workshop was very educational and rewarding. Remembering how I felt about this situation and what I learned through the process will help me with other situations in the future. Accepting the challenge offered to me by my club has opened up new opportunities and helped me to grow as a person.

Being a member of a Lions Club offers many opportunities. The usual things that people think about are friendship and giving something back to the community. For me, one of the best things that has come from my membership is the opportunity for personal growth in a supportive environment.

To quote Brian Tracey, “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”

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Categories: Castle Bromwich Lions, Press & PR

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