It is easy to say one should dare to be different but easier said than done. This, in fact, is one aspect which can be a bit frightening for most of us. Conforming to the norm is the much simpler way to anything in life – be it professional or personal. And most of us tread this path. However, what we do not realize is that pushing our boundaries can be immensely rewarding – personally as well as professionally.
Most of us like to live in their comfort zones. First of all, what is this comfort zone? For the record, this is that cozy corner which keeps anxiety at bay. This could be something like cooking a meal on a regular basis, or even daily driving down for work. And something which makes us mentally or physically uneasy is outside of our comfort zone.
Nonetheless, if we care to peep out, we will certainly come across scores of examples of people who tried out the unconventional, and made a good go of it. Try to take them as your role models, your inspirations. For it is a fact that if we learn to push ourselves just a little bit more, we will certainly achieve more than what we otherwise would.
For instance, take public speaking. This is an activity which may be unnerving for some of us. But, obviously, if we are in a field where this is a must, we have to learn to circumvent our inherent fears. Or take socializing. This too may make some of us a bit queasy. But, if we are into marketing a product or a service, this is a trait which should be more of a second nature for us. Hence, what should you do if you are uncomfortable with something which is more of a necessity for your professional and even personal dynamics and betterment?
To get over your fears and anxieties, try to take baby steps out of your comfort zone. For example, rehearse your speeches in front of a mirror. Or enroll for a crash course in public speaking. Or try and rope in family and friends to be your audience for a while in front of whom you can practice your talk. Do not take a big leap by straight off going in for a sizeable audience right at the very onset of your public speaking gambits.
For the socializing bit, try going out in small groups and make an effort to initiate conversations with those you do not know well. Learn to adapt, to change and to make little transformations in your behavior. Challenge yourself, but in small doses. Give yourself a chance.
You may actually discover that something which you were scared of, actually is a do-able activity.
Also, it is necessary to be honest with yourself at all times. Also, learn to find solutions to problems. Learn to find answers, not questions. Force yourself to take action and discard inaction. For instance, if you are the kind who is plagued by doubt and anxiety easily, join a meditation class, for example, sign up for a course in Reiki.
If you are nervous around new people, try to sign in for a session in which you can bond with strangers for a particular reason – like taking up an angel therapy workshop or going in for a Buddhist Zadankai meet. You will meet with strangers and can learn to interact with them about this particular form of alternative healing or chanting. In this manner, teach yourself to open up to others.
Also, be firm about taking the plunge into the unknown. At the end of a bit of risk-taking, you may pleasantly discover that this whole process was not as unpleasant as you thought it may be. You may actually discover that something which you were scared of, actually is a do-able activity. Break myths.
In addition, do not be bogged down by failure or small steps in the backward direction. If your first attempt at something is not a resounding success, learn from it – analyze what had gone wrong. Accept it as a lesson, your class, in which you have come to know what not do, not what to do.
Give yourself a chance to grow personally as well as professionally. Forget the entrepreneurial race for a while. Focus on coming around and overcoming a personal ‘shy’ factor. This will, in turn, help you in your professional odysseys. Try to be your own friend in order to overcome an issue that is bothering you.
For this, you have to, first of all, recognize that there is a problem. There is no use of wearing a blindfold. Then, and only then, you can find a way out of it. Hence, do not cover up for issues which exist by thinking of them as non-issues. Break them up into sub-parts, and work your way around each bit.
Try to become comfortable in being a little uncomfortable.
Push your boundaries. Reward yourself for stepping out of your inner zone. Do not limit yourself by saying ‘no’ to new situations. Let yourself grow and see how your personal horizons automatically expand. Comfort zones too will automatically expand. Try to become comfortable in being a little uncomfortable.
Also, do not take newness too seriously. Think of it as a fun thing to do. A sprinkling of anxiety actually is a motivator. It can act as a precursor to you taking an action which has long been pending. For instance, you know walking and running are good for you. Thus, you have been walking four to five kilometers each day. Talk yourself into running for 200 meters now. Will you not soon enough discover how beneficial this was for you?
However, as mentioned above, risk taking is all very well provided you take controlled risks. Do not go overboard. Try to reconcile yourself to the fact that if you are too comfortable, you may not be too productive. This is given and confirmed. Thus, try to come to a state of optimal anxiety. Try to be creative. Creativity, too, is something of a risk. Kick habit and kick routine.
All this will aid and abet you in widening up your frontiers – which in turn, will lead to personal and professional excellence. Strike up a balance between risk-taking and sacrificing your comfort zone. Start with the understanding that risk-taking is a synonym for maturity and experience.
And still, if you find nonconformity a LIE, trust, you should not go ahead with taking a RISK. Rather, for all good, embrace the notion that stepping out of your own developed comfort zones will let you discover that comfort zone for which you have been striving for years!
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