What do you most want to be doing? What’s stopping you? There are times when the best thing to do is what you’re least comfortable doing. There is nothing holding you back.
Now to use the “S” word. Serendipitiously, I read two outstanding pieces this week from authors at different ends of the world, each of which touched in a different way on the virtues of forcing yourself out of your comfort zone.
From the southern states of the US, Jay Kuhns is a blogging phenomenon, and a daily inspiration to me. Five days a week, Jay’s blog brings it. His every post concludes with the following sign-off: “I’d love to hear from you. No Excuses.” What precedes this sign-off each day is an insight into Jay’s “no excuses” worldview. Jay knows that he, they, you and every one of us can do better, no matter how well we might already be doing, or think we are doing. We need to push ourselves.
Funeral Hymn, Jay’s post from Wednesday 18 February 2015, is the best blog post I have read so far in this young year. Rather than wistfully saying “I’ve always wanted to do that,” he writes about how to make things actually happen:
“It takes courage to admit that you could do more…be more…and make a move that is unsettling at best, and downright scary at worst. (or is the scary part the best? Hmmm) […] Bold moves are the best moves. […] There is absolutely nothing holding you back.”
Way over on the other side of the world, Amanda Sterling – leading light of New Zealand’s #NZLead movement – wrote a fascinating post on an event she attended, name of KiwiFoo. In Amanda’s words, KiwiFoo is “an invite-only unconference event for interesting people.” Her account of KiwiFoo, and the topics discussed (ranging from organic workforces, humane work and toxic cultures) is extremely interesting. But as a fellow introvert I was particularly struck by Amanda’s words on her fundamental discomfort at attending this event:
“I can safely say that I was way way way out of my echo chamber at KiwiFoo. […] It was confronting, overwhelming, not something I enjoyed; yet inspiring, challenging and rewarding. […] Experiences which took away what I thought I was good at, to leave behind greater confidence.”
As Amanda’s previously blogged, there are things that can push we introverts way out of our comfort zones:
“Being introverted doesn’t mean I don’t challenge or cannot perform in an extroverted way when necessary. As Susan [Cain] states, ‘Introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly’.”
The bold move may well not even be something you enjoy (or at least, at first). But that doesn’t mean it’s not the right move to make. What’s stopping you?
- Image via Wikimedia Commons.