Screw it, Let’s Do it! Or How Did I Get out of My Comfort Zone Big Time.
A month ago I faced a major challenge. It required from me to get out of my comfort zone and have biiiiig can do attitude. I must say I was scared as hell, but guess what? I did it! Let me share the entire story.
We were with my colleague and my boss in my beloved Spain and I had an amazing opportunity to practice my Spanish once again. I spent the time of my life in Granada and Almeria (Andalusia) in 2008 for my Erasmus semester and summer work. Back then and still 2 years later I was quite fluent and confident enough to present in Spanish. But since then I have not used it that much, as I have been living in entirely English speaking world during past few years. And well…since I’m a grown up girl now, I stopped watching soap operas ;-).
So here we are – back in Spain, sunny Madrid, with cheerful Spanish team. I promised them I would attempt to deliver the workshop in Spanish. Nevertheless, we did not manage to get materials translated into Spanish, so I ended up with English notes only and no preparation which I originally required. The final agreement was then – let’s do it in English with Spanish interpretation. However, it would not be me if I did not just try it. As my favorite entrepreneur Richard Branson says: ‘Screw it, let’s do it!’
This is what I said to myself when I decided just minutes before the workshop start that I would deliver it in Spanish. I simply felt that it would be a shame, because in the end I used to be perfectly fluent. Those of you, who have ever studied multiple foreign languages, understand me. When the language is not used for a very long period of time and you suddenly use it, it usually turns out that it stays there – in your brain. It is not perfect, you keep searching for words, but it is manageable and after a few days or weeks of using it, it somewhat ‘comes back’.
And this is the thing – it is not perfect. If you are perfectionists, just like me, you do not like to deliver incomplete presentation or product. I believe this is what prevents most of us from stepping out of our comfort zones – the fear of not being perfect, the fear of making even a very small misstep. In a way the ability to get out of your comfort zone is very much dependent on you accepting yourself as an imperfect human being. And that is why stepping out of your comfort zone is so painful.
It was really painful for me. Physically painful! I was standing nervous in front of 15 Spanish speaking HR managers creating Spanish sentences based on my English notes. I totally lacked the vocabulary and my Spanish syntax was far from perfect. Just one note: I’m not native English speaker either, my mother tongue is Czech. So I was literally translating stuff in my head from English to Spanish (both foreign languages for me). I frequently froze as I was searching for words. Then amazing thing happened. The group, which definitely could have seen how much effort I was putting into my presentation, started to help me! In the end they were applauding me… You can imagine the adrenaline rush in me at that moment.
Everybody was happy. They were happy they got their training in their native language. My boss was happy and absolutely proud of me, which she openly manifested later. And I was happy and proud of myself. I did it! And this is why it is always so good to step out of your comfort zone: it pays back. The final feeling that you did it, that you tried and it work out, is priceless. And it does not matter it was far from perfect, because you usually find out that ‘far from perfect’ is just enough.
My last point for those who are still hesitating to step out of their comfort zones is that the feeling of satisfaction is kind of addictive. And this is your safe zone. Once you are brave enough to do it, it becomes easier and easier over the time. You will gain more confidence and you will simply love that feeling when you overcome your fears and gain some new exciting experience.
Good luck with overcoming your fears everybody! And please share: When was is last time you had to step out of your comfort zone? How was it?
Discussion: Screw it, Let’s Do it! Or How Did I Get out of My Comfort Zone Big Time.
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