Feeling the fear, and doing it anyway.

Your comfort zone isn't static, it can be stretched as you do more things that scare you.

Your comfort zone isn’t static, it can be stretched as you do more things that scare you.

The other week, I was asked to do something at work that I really didn’t want to do. It isn’t technically part of my job, so I had no obligation to do it, except that there was nobody else and it was a friend asking me, so of course I agreed. This is how I found myself in front of a conference room full of people who were new to the organisation, leading a session about campaigning to bring about change. And you know what? I loved it. Even though I felt ill at the prospect of having to do something like that, I left the room with a big smile on my face.

One of the things that I know to be true is that feeling scared about something is a sign that you need to do it. I believe this because some of the most valuable experiences of my life have happened when I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone.

  • When I let somebody at university persuade me to stand as chairperson for the People & Planet group, and I discovered that I wanted a career in a campaigning organisation.
  • When I left my friends and family behind to spend six months working for a charity in India, and grew into the person I am today.
  • When I took a job as a life model and learnt to accept my body as beautiful: cellulite, scars and all.
  • When I applied for a job at an organisation I’d always dreamt of working for, and got it.
  • When I went to Alive in Berlin on my own, and came away having found my tribe of people and made some amazing friends.

This year, this project, is all about stepping out of my comfort zone. I don’t want to be fearless. I want to do at least one thing a week where I feel fear, but I do it anyway.

Over the past week, I’ve done the following things that scare me:

  • I’ve signed up to run the Oxford Half Marathon. I’ve also told a lot of people, so I can’t back out of it now.
  • Wanting to incorporate my writing into my personal brand and body of work, I added this blog to my LinkedIn profile. Scary to think that people who know me professionally might also read this post.
  • I took the lead in finding a new housemate: arranging viewings and showing people round. Meeting new people terrifies me, especially in a context when you’re each judging the other.
  • I overcame the fear that nobody would want to come, and planned a celebration for my birthday. (People did come. It was awesome.)

How about you? When have you stepped out of your comfort zone and been rewarded? What have you done recently that scares you?

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