Over the last 3 months I have been on a stand up comedy course every Monday evening at the Midlands Arts Centre. Why on earth I hear you ask? Because the idea of doing a stand up routine in front of a group of people terrified me. To be “Limitless” I know I have to acknowledge what scares me, then do something about it! When it comes to confidence building stepping out of your comfort zone is one of the best things you can do.
Neale Donald Walsch said “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” . I love this idea, that some of the real gold, the value in our life comes from stepping beyond where we are comfortable.That is where you will find your unique and amazing self ! The comfort zone is a great place to relax and recharge but to build your confidence and find out what you are really made of sometimes its important to step out!
Stepping out of your comfort zone – how to do it
There seem to have been 6 different stages to stepping out of my comfort zone. Even at my most uncomfortable though I knew I had the tools to get through it.
Stage 1 – Denial “Its nothing, just a way to fill Monday nights”
At first I didnt really register the implications of what I had signed up, it just sounded like a good idea! At this stage, grounding and mindfulness helps you focus back into the reality of your situation. It may make you a little nervous, but as an old mentor of mine said to me, the moment you aren’t nervous is the moment you don’t care. Denial is a protection mechanism, feel the nerves and you know you are facing reality!
Stage 2 – Frustration “I cant do this, everyone else is better than me”
Our group was so varied in terms of experience and style that you think it would be impossible to compare one with another. But it was still something I did to start with. Then I started comparing myself… with my past self, it was a much more constructive place to be. Reflecting on what YOU have learned and getting feedback from others helps you see where you are improving, and what you still have to do. Don’t compare yourself with others, they have their own comfort zone to step out of.
Stage 3 – Annoyance/Anger “Why did I sign up for this”
There was a day when I felt like giving up. I was annoyed with myself for signing up to something so different to my daily life. The following night was my class and it was full of laughter and teamwork, the anger disappeared in an instance. Don’t forget to laugh!
Stage 4 – Exploration “This could be fun”
At certain points along the journey to step out of my comfort zone I had moments when I smiled for no reason. There is a sense of joy when you step out of your comfort zone. It is important to notice this sense of excitement and anchor the positive feelings you have, particularly to equip you to deal with stage 5!
Stage 5 – Shear Panic “Why????”
On the day of my “gig” the panic really began to build. At this stage two things can really help. Breathing, to ground and focus your mind. Then I started power posing, building up the testosterone for confidence and reducing my cortisol levels (stress). Power poses work!
Stage 6 – Jubilation “That was amazing.”
And then I was on the stage, and I realised people were laughing at the jokes I had taken time to write and craft. It was the greatest feeling. It was a wonderful evening, my fellow students and I were so full of positive energy after the event. The audience were amazing and said so any wonderful things which I will hold on to for a long time. Once you start stepping out of your comfort zone you wont want to stop!
So if you are thinking about expanding your comfort zone, to build your confidence for any part of your daily life, do it ! By stepping out of your comfort zone you are get ever closer to finding just how amazing and Limitless you are.
Alison Burgess is a Confidence Builder, Trainer and Coach. For more information about building confidence go to the Limitless for Life website, contact Alison on 07931 556 167 or click here to follow on twitter.