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

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