For the past three weekends, our team has met so many members through our SOAR conference. Personally, it helped me to connect and form relationships with many of those people. I know one of my favorite parts was being able to get members to try a line dance or speak in front of the audience to answer a question. These things may have seemed small to others but they were big challenges for some.
We all are very aware of the words “comfort zone”. This idea is that anything that we would feel comfortable doing is inside of the zone. However, watching all of these members reach outside their comfort zone made me want to share my stories to encourage more people to challenge themselves.
One of the most prominent times I remember being tested to do some uncomfortable task would be public speaking. I know, it sounds crazy that a state officer would be afraid of talking to a large group of people. But, the truth is that it terrified me. I felt like everyone was judging every single word I said. The first time I was faced with this was initially running for state office. Being able to speak in front of mentors or other prep resources made me so nervous. It took a lot of stretching my comfort zone to even begin to stand in front of them. Then, to be honest, I was not very good at first.
Now, after being elected we have our first week of office which is considered base camp. I was relieved at the thought that I would not have to speak in front of people for quite some time (or so I thought). It was the last day of base camp when our facilitator asked for us to give some practice reflections. It honestly made me sick that now I had to be vulnerable and talk in front of some of the best people in the state (my teammates). Yes, I had done some speaking in rounds, but it was not done right with my teammates sitting a couple of feet away from me. My thoughts were spinning about whether they would wonder why I even got on the team or if the words that came out of my mouth would even make sense. My comfort zone had almost shrunk back down again.
To be really honest, I cried in front of my team that day. It was not because my story was really sad but I was scared of being a disappointment. There was no time to wait though so the timer started on my reflection and I began. Yes, I made it all the way through the speech. No, it was not perfect. But the point was that I made it through a speech in front of my teammates after also receiving critiques. None of those critiques were that I did an awful job or needed a ton of work. I was overthinking and was scared to step out of my comfort zone.
However, when I did step out of that zone, I realized that my teammates were here for me to be successful. That the other people around me in my life wanted me to do well also. This was one more scary thing that I accomplished. Now, I speak at conferences, chapter visits, and all other sorts of events.
The question is… What is making you a bit nervous, uncomfortable, or scared that you are doing? Go ahead and take the challenge head-on. There are people rooting for you to be successful. This is your challenge to step out of your comfort zone. I cannot wait to see you grow.
Stepping out of her comfort zone,