Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Look out comfort zone, I'm coming through!

As most of you know, in the past few months I've had the opportunity to unleash my inner Princess!

And I thought that was the perfect segway into talking about getting out of my comfort zone.

Because despite the fact that I'm a fairly confident person - I still have plenty of moments where I go eeekkk...do I really want to get myself into this? Maybe it's safer just to stay here!

Generally my hesitation revolves around lovely little doubts like...
  • Will I be able to fit this in?
  • It'll take too long!
  • Will I be able to commit to this fully?
  • Do I really want/need to do this?
  • I'm happy staying here!
  • Can I be bothered?!
Sometime I notice and think - aha! The perfect reason to do this is to get out of my comfort zone and prove that I can do it.

After all, how can I grow if I stay the same and not try new things?

But then there's plenty of other times I haven't noticed that I'm putting things off because of little fears and doubts...sneaky, very sneaky!

Anyway, back to letting my inner Princess out because it's such a great example of how I've had to go charging through my comfort zone several times these past few months and have definitely grown as a person because of it.

Not the least of which was just putting my hand up to do it!

But first of all, for those reading this that aren't Adelaideans, I really should explain what I'm talking about!

I work for Police Credit Union who are a proud sponsor of the Credit Union Christmas Pageant...a huge, iconic event on the Adelaide calendar that heralds the start of Christmas here in SA, and is such an amazing event to be part of!

Anyway, one of the traditions is to have Princesses from the different sponsoring credit unions (and now Princes!) and you go through an interview process to potentially become Queen.

In the past, I'd always been on the interview panel at work to pick our royalty, but with my change in roles this year I was free to put my hand up...although it took some serious thought on my part as to whether I wanted to do that!

Do I really want to? Will I have enough time? Am I someone who wears a puffy pink frock?! What will people think of me?

In the end I thought you know what, if I'm picked as Princess it'll definitely put me out of my comfort zone.

Yes I'm good with the public speaking and have plenty of community spirit...but acting like a Princess and hanging out with a whole bunch of kids will be new things for me!

At any rate, I'm so glad I nominated because it's been great fun - even if I have had to take a few big leaps since.

The comfort zone was flashing red (or should that be pink!) the day I had to do media training - the crux of which is being put on the spot and having to answer mock questions from a journalist.

Yes I know I can talk and talk and talk, and I'm even one of those weirdos who enjoys public speaking. But I much prefer knowing the questions in advance and rehearsing!!

Anyway, deep breaths, smiling, adrenaline, quick thinking and marketing speak pulled me through there and it wasn't so hard after all.

The next encounter with the old c-zone happened when the PR company called to say did I want to be on TV for a short news story?!

Of course I was a bit nervous, but I jumped at it thinking it'd be something completely different to anything I'd done before. And I'm really glad I did!

I even got told I was a media natural by several people so I was chuffed! See what you think - can you tell I'd had to crash through the zone...

A big part of our royal duties is going out to schools and hospitals to visit kids and sprinkle a little bit of Pageant magic into their lives. Yet again it's been an opportunity to jump over a comfort zone hurdle (particularly learning the lines for our little play!).

But again it's been so much fun!

I think the fortunate thing for me is that I am able to push through fear and use my nervous energy to my advantage.

And it's also fortunate that I only tend to blush slightly now so apparently it's not so obvious that my heart is beating at a rapid rate of knots!!

Another thing that spurs me on is a very clear memory I have from when I was 4.

I was asked if I wanted to do a little spin on the catwalk for a local fashion parade and my first reaction was one of terror! No I don't think I can do that...how will I look? What will people think of me? (Oh yes, I had anxiety issues way back then!)

I quickly said no thanks, but then as I watched the little girls moseying up the catwalk later, I realised I could have done it easily.

It's provides such a good reminder to me that I don't want to regret not trying something because of a few butterflies (whether they're small or large!).

And I'm sure you'll agree with me that it's never as hard as what you thought it would be anyway!

Lastly, another reason I like getting out of my comfort zone - either by doing new things, or going first at something - is that I like to inspire others to do the same.

After all, if I can do it - you can too!

I think it's part of the reason I was put here, even if it sounds trivial.

Despite what my head sometimes tells me, I really don't mind being up on display (exhibit a is this blog!), particularly if it'll help someone else realise what they are capable of.

Oh and the other check I now do when I'm kicking off 'Operation: Bust through CZ' is to check am I actually nervous or excited??

My fabulous friend Kylie introduced me to this little trick and apologies if I've written about this before.

On the surface, fear and excitement can present as really similar physical sensations...ooohhh, that's  right you say!

So if you go into your physical feeling a bit, or stand back from it for a second, you might just find that you're not actually experiencing anxiety - you're just excited with the anticipation of it all!

Anyway, the next time you're faced with an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, just think of me in my pink Princess frock and...


Speaking of comfort zones...the day I had to get frocked up, pick from a bunch of props and ham it up for our glam royal shoot definitely propelled me out of mine. It was like free choice writing at school...aaahhh, don't tell me I can do anything, give me a structure to be creative within! Anyway, after a deep breath and thinking 'I can do this!', voila the butterfly Princess was born!!

A big thanks to the very talented Liam West who took this pic, the man's got skills with a camera.

© Lightly Salted/Liam West 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The only way to change your life is to do it yourself!

I think I’ve forgotten this!

There’s a few things that I’ve been wanting to change about  my life, but have realised I’ve been waiting for it to magically land in my lap…or if I whinge enough then someone else will do it for me. Ha ha!

And whinging really isn’t my style. In fact it feels awful!
It's made me feel so unbalanced, and it just feels unnatural…not the happy, laid back being that I like to be!
I much prefer being positive, looking at what I want, putting it out there and following the bread crumb trail the Universe lays down for me…

Backed of course by writing often to celebrate my wins, delve further into my life and let go of any old patterns – staying in my head with my thoughts is a crowded place, the instant I put it on paper it’s amazing what comes to light!
And did I mention keeping my thoughts focused on the positive - it's amazing how much lighter I feel when I stick to this simple little trick!

But I’ve allowed myself to get dragged into the quagmire of stagnant thinking by my ego who’s role is to keep me from changing, improving and in general getting out of my comfort zone!
I don’t like this, I don’t like this…I wish this would change…why are they doing that…it’s not my fault (ha ha, my own personal favourite!)…

All in all I’ve been doing way too much in my head and not getting it out. The sneaky thing is I hadn’t realized how much was hiding until the last week or so when I started saying it out loud.
So what now?
#1 - Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change

This little saying has had such a profound effect on my life any time I’ve thought to apply it!
You know when you feel stuck about something and suddenly you see that little glimmer of light that there is another option…

How much better do you then feel when you realise you can change something about the situation!
The simplest flip is to look for the positive in something rather than the negative.

Quickest way to do that – in the midst of whatever’s happening, say ‘I’m grateful for…’

You can always find something to say thank you for even if not everything’s going ‘right’ for you.
It could be ‘I’m grateful that this is showing me exactly what I don't want'!! Or 'I'm grateful to be learning something new about myself...'

Another other good trick - taking a step back to say all in all my life is great, and there's definitely stacks of people who are worse off.

Not to mention lifting up from the problem to see how in the grand scheme of things, this is a very small part of my life!

Don't believe your ego when it tells you it's a life threatening issue...chances are it isn't!!

#2 - Be the change you want to see in the world

I’ve done a cracking job of acting like a victim of late. Blame’s a powerful tool of the ego, trying to convince you that it’s not your fault!
But who’s the person making each choice in your life…no-one else can think for you!

Yes they can give you plenty of input, giving you ammunition to say ‘well it’s not my fault…they convinced me…’
But at the end of the day – you are the only person who can think for you. You are the only person who can make each choice, take each step etc etc.

So time for this Princess to suck it up and start taking full responsibility again!
And that in itself is a great feeling.

Saying to myself ‘I take full responsibility for my life’ makes me lift straight away.

Taking responsibility for my own life has such an empowering effect. It brings me back into the realm of solutions, rather than focusing on the problem.

#3- Choose to choose your thoughts!

I’m a big fan of the law of attraction, it just makes sense to me.  In it’s simplest form, I see it as creating self-fulfilling prophecies.
Hence why I’m often heard to say ‘well if you think that’s going to happen, then it will’!

How I feel and what I say creates my life…and I haven’t been guarding my thoughts and statements enough lately.
I’ve been letting a bunch of sludge hang out in my head and come out of my mouth!

As the lovely Louise Hay says – every thought is an affirmation.

So by complaining, you’re affirming that you’d like more of that in your life.
Conversely, by choosing your thoughts and making them positive, the results are instant…more things to be positive about!

And so now I’m sure you can connect the dots… by focusing purely on what I don’t like – I’m creating more off that!
#4 - Stop trying to stop the flow, just sit back and enjoy the ride!

In the past month or so, I’ve just felt like I’m either swimming up stream, or just been trying to jam the oar in to stem the flow.
I’ve had the lovely combination of either trying to force things and being impatient…or sitting back and whinging about what isn’t changing.

So now I've decided to get out of my own way!

Stop taking life so seriously...relax...and whenever I feel like I'm forcing things, I'm going to put up the white flag and say universe, your move!!

Because after all, I know that everything is happening in the perfect order and it will all be revealed just at the right time!

So I thought I'd leave you with a photo of me sitting on the beach at Byron last week...a great example of where I had a few moments of aaaahhhhhh.....and boy was I grateful for it...

And PS - Kristin & Lisa, this one's for you! Thank you for reminding me of my now 5 week old promise to write more blogs again!!