Update: This post series have been published as an article 'Why I Spent 2 Weeks Outside My Comfort Zone' on TurnPoint educational start up website. You can check it out here.
This post is a continuation of the social experiment on leaving your comfort zone I'm currently being a part of.
The idea of the game is based on the players taking a closer look at our daily behaviours to identify what it is that makes us uncomfortable and overcome it - yes, by doing it more often. As simple as that - gradually turning the zone of our discomfort into our comfort zone, widening our personal boundaries, working on our current limitations.
I was responsible for coming up with a 2-week strategy on how I would do this. My plan was simple - every day get out of your comfort zone. I made a list of things to do which included items ranging from talking to strangers (even if to ask the time) to going somewhere alone and saying 'no'. I topped my plan off with some healthy practices I wanted to make a part of my routine but never got down to doing -I finally signed up for the gym and started to wake up earlier.
The project gradually became my motivation. I made my goals public to other participants and had to report on the progress every second day. The results came along unexpectedly quickly.
Back in the days of my inner struggle and lack of self-worth - before I started to play with my comfort zone - I found a perfect course run by a group of enthusiasts on a tropical island. The course aimed at helping the participants transition out of a boring job to doing what they love. No matter how ideally it suited my situation there was no way how I could afford it, not to mention the cost of the flight. While I was still working on finalizing my goals for the comfort zone game I got a contest notification into my mailbox. Guess what the main prize was? The winner got to attend my dream course for free. On condition of publishing a video of herself telling a story, sharing it on social media and getting voted for. The person who collected the most votes would win the course.
I will just say that it was extremely hard to overcome my fears, the shyness of being on camera, the inability to make and edit videos, to talk to the audience, fears of not being voted for - they were countless! The only reason which made me make that video was the promise to myself I had made - every day to get out of my comfort zone. And I did it. I made the video and posted it before I could delete it. And it wasn’t even the hardest thing. The hardest was getting in touch with several hundreds of my friends asking them to vote for me and telling them – yes, I want to change my job, in fact I am going to change my life! And it all paid off - I won the course.
At first it was hard to get out of my comfort zone and I had to remind myself I need to do it at least once a day. Then I learned how to do it differently - I started to analyse my responses to situations. Is it because I'm busy that I do not want to go to this new place? Tired? Or is it me being afraid? If I was completely honest with myself in 99% of cases it was the latter. So I mercilessly directed myself towards the source of my fears. When you approach the matter consciously and understand where the discomfort is coming from it becomes much easier to handle it, as you understand that the fears are artificial and there is nothing really to be afraid of. Nothing terrible can happen. While something amazing just might. And most probably it will!
I have one more week to go withe the project... It's a tough game we play! Come back here soon to find out the results of the experiment.
Acknowledgements: 'Getting out of your comfort zone' is a project led by Svetlana Pokrevskaya on her blog (in Russian). This post has been inspired by her articles.
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