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I often joke with my partner and friends that I can’t leave my comfort zone because I don’t have one. In other words, as Charlie Brown once said: “My anxieties have anxieties.” All kidding aside, I do believe that it’s important for our development as human beings to break out of the boundaries of our typical lives, and try something new and exciting, and perhaps scary. (Maybe this is my Halloween post after all.)

Recently I was invited to deliver the closing keynote speech at a conference. I’m accustomed to conducting seminars, Webinars, workshops and various presentations, but a “keynote” was not in my repertoire until now. I guess you could say it was out of my comfort zone. Because I didn’t consider myself keynote material, my first instinct was to decline. In fact, I had a conflict on the date in question. But then, as if by magic, the conflict disappeared, and I had no good reason to say no. And there was a strong reason to say yes: A person I respect – and consider a star in the communications firmament – had recommended me for this speaking engagement. So saying no would have disappointed both him and the conference organizers. At the same time, my partner, bless his generous and brilliant soul, was encouraging me to “go for it” so that I could stretch myself.

Now that the speaking assignment is behind me, I’m glad I did it, for many reasons. But the main one is that I feel gratified to have pushed myself beyond my usual self-imposed limits.

It’s funny. In my personal life, I’ve indeed done an “exit, stage left” from my comfort zone. Those occasions were a little too personal for this forum, so you’ll have to imagine what I mean. Professionally, I stretched my wings when I broke into podcasting, social media and then conference podcasting. You know what? It feels good. These challenges energize me.

What about you? Have you left your comfort zone recently?

7 COMMENTS

  1. One should push the limit of comfort zone every day in small increments to grow and expand as a person. It becomes a norm and when a big event comes, it doesn’t seem as big any more. Congratulations!

  2. Yes, watercolour painting is a good example. Following a desire to do something that might be ingenious, or ruin the painting you spent hours on is sometimes scary. The same is true in your situation – delivering the closing keynote speech can either make you a star, or can ruin your reputation. One just has to take a leap of faith. I am sure you came out of this experience a star!

  3. Interesting … today I’m considering becoming a freelance writer after working in corporate for almost 15 years Out of my comfort zone? Absolutely. But I’ve never been more excited, passionate or inspired about my career.

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