My blog has has various categories. Today they coincide. Travel sideways meets Inspiration and leadership. It all started with me, at the age of 40, started doing headstands! Additionally, I have really been challenging myself on the water the last few days. Why have I not done this before? You see, because I am very comfortable in my own safe little comfort zone. Being there is pleasant, but I do miss so many experiences and learning opportunities.
Upside down and laundry ball
I love yoga, but I usually do the same postures every time. If I am in a class where we are doing headstands, I usually just do it in a halfway manner. It looks like I am trying, but in my head I am thinking – My stiff body cannot do this. I am not going upside down.
When I am windsurfing, I tend to keep it safe. Going between the waves, taking it easy on chop (many small waves). I am not going to be washed like a washing ball. I can sail super-fast, but it is not challenging me enough. That is really just nonsense, since I just fall into the water.
Out of the comfort zone, into the learning or panic zone!
It started with the morning yoga practice. There were few people in the class, and I was challenged directly. The instructor asked me to try headstands against a wall. Together, we went through it step by step. I was thinking that I had to pull myself together. Give it an honest try. After a few attempts, I was standing upside down, and it did not even hurt. (Rather the opposite, doing headstands is supposed to free any anger from your body). This made me so motivated that every day since, I have been practicing on the grass outside our cabin. My posture is not perfect, so I am usually practicing with bent knees for now.
Later that day, we went to Kanaha. I ended up talking with a cool woman who was jumping and ripping in the waves. She was a talented leisure surfer, not a professional. She encouraged me to try the waves, now that they were tiny. Oh no, I cannot do that. I do not know how to do a cutback (a technique for turning on a wave). Alexander has always told me to watch video guides, visualize and do some dry training on the beach. He is absolutely right, but when am I supposed to have the time to do so? When the twin boys are asleep, I clean or write my blog.
Before I went on the water, I asked Alexander – How do I do a jump on a chop? He gave me some instructions, and I sailed out. This time, I went straight into a bigger chop. Wow, I have to say it was a very litte hop. The style was not perfect, but wow! This was fun. On my way inwards, I turned into some smaller waves. Slightly nervous, I did some turns before I fell and struggled to get up again. I did not surf any waves, but I challenged myself. Every day since, I have been trying. Yes, I did fall between two waves and had an involuntary nose rinse, but so what?
Outside the Comfort zone, there is the Learning zone. I took this step. If I went straight into the big waves, I would quickly get into the Panic zone. That is probably not a nice place to be. Below, you will find a simple illustration of these this. (PowerPoint is overrated ;)).
How can we take a step out of the comfort zone in the workplace?
I asked myself the question above, and I encourage you to do the same! How can we take more steps out of the comfort zone?
For some people, taking a step out of the workplace comfort zone means doing extensive things. Moving abroad and working in an international environment or taking a leadership job that involves a large career leap, perhaps with a lot of staff responsibility.
I believe that it is just as important to do the unpleasant things. How about saying Yes the next time you get the chance to:
1) Put your hand in the air and ask that question you have been thinking about (in a larger audience).
I think we all have been sitting there with our hand halfway up in the air, wondering if the question is “good enough”.
2) Walk into a meeting and present something without any presentation slides. Have your series of arguments ready in your head, and trust your knowledge.
Face-to-face meetings are often better than face-to-screen meetings.
3) Take that cold phone call.
I do not like cold calls, and I have to prep for days. I am always very relieved when it is done, but it usually goes well.
4) Give a presentation in front of a larger (or smaller) audience.
I can cross this one off the list, but I am always a little bit tense if the subject is new to me.
5) Give a presentation in English.
I am doing this the spring of 2016!
6) Apply for the job that seems a little bit out of your league, and accept it if it is offered to you.
I do not want a new job, but I happily take on new and challenging projects!
7) Have the difficult conversation.
I am getting better and better at it, but it is never nice. Remember to maintain eye contact!
8) Sit down at a new desk in the open plan office every day this week. Or how about sitting with new colleagues during lunch?
I will do this! Hmm, I will have to start by eating lunch in the canteen, not in a taxi…
9) Wear that colorful outfit, which might not be according to the dress code.
I remember once when I wore a white dress with red dots, when everyone else wore black. Walking in was a little bit unpleasant, but I did get attention.
What will be your experience?
By trying to break out of it, you will experience that your comfort zone is gradually expanded. Increase your risk-taking, one step at a time. We do not want to fall into the panic zone. You will feel empowerment or learn by mistake. What is certain is that if you stay in your pleasant and routine comfort zone, you will stagnate!
For me, establishing this blog has been a step out of my comfort zone. My pulse was a little bit high when it went live in September. I have done some mistakes in this new blog life, but I have learned so much.
I am not saying that we should do extreme out-of-comfort-zone activities all the time. Sitting in a cozy corner with a cup of coffee and a book is great. The comfort zone is peaceful and quiet. It is important to enjoy yourself.
But challenge yourself. Do three things today that challenges your comfort zones!
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