By Chhum Chanrachana,
I remember the first time that I had to do a presentation in my very first university class. It was one of my biggest nightmares. Even though I had prepared everything, I still found myself with shaking hands and sweaty palms. I ended up reading everything from the slide and the audience hardly understood what I was saying.
During my first year, I had never imagined myself doing public speaking. That was until I got the chance to join the debate club and a few more public speaking competitions. The size of the audiences that I have spoken in front of have gradually increased.
That’s how I slowly dragged myself out of my shell, or commonly known as the ‘comfort zone’.
Be Aware of the Comfort Zone
Your comfort zone is the boundary that you set within yourself. It is the place where you are physically, psychologically, and emotionally comfortable in. Basically, it describes your daily routines or how you normally deal with your life.
Stepping out of your comfort zone could mean breaking out of those old and deeply-rooted habits. A lot of things could go wrong beyond your zone. Taking the first step out of your comfortable shell will surely result in enormous anxiety. Since you are no longer taking the same route you normally do, mistakes could occur anytime. If so, why do a lot of people still keep telling you to get out of it?
It’s Time To Move On
Of course, all of those changes and challenges you dare to take will reward you with personal growth. However, taking the first step outside of your comfort zone is the most difficult time for everyone, including me. Here are a few tips that you could use to lure yourself out of that zone:
1. Remember that everyone makes mistakes
When you do something you’re not familiar with for the first time, you’ll surely make a lot of mistakes. Don’t worry. It happens to everyone. There’s no such thing as perfection on the first try. If plan A doesn’t work, you may switch to plan B, C, or D. The time you overcome the fear is the time you should be most proud of yourself.
2. Peek outside and be inspired
You need to find more inspiration by dragging yourself out there to see and learn from other people. People may share a variety of stories regarding their achievements or failures. Those experiences are valuable lessons for you to push yourself forward, and they are the mirror to reflect who you want to be. With enough reasons of why you should leave your comfort zone, you’ll be more willing to try out new things even more.
3. Strengthen your confidence and positivity
Self-motivation is the most important part of self-development. You need to believe in yourself that you can do it. Trust your own instinct. If you feel like you might be able to do it, do it! It might sound a bit cliche, but it actually works. Positivity and confidence push you out to the new things. Overly self-doubting yourself will get you nowhere. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
4. Do it now!
You shouldn’t wait for tomorrow or until you’re ready to leave your comfort zone. You need to implement your plan after you set it. The more you wait, the more challenges you presume there are. This may result in severe anxiety, making it even more difficult to face your fears. Tomorrow will become another tomorrow.
5. Seek support from your peers
Sometimes, it’s hard to convince yourself to leave behind your old habit. If so, it’s also a good idea to ask for advice and support from your family members and friends. They’ll keep pushing you out of there.
Lastly, don’t wait until you become a professional debater to join a debate event, or until you become a good writer to apply for a writing competition. If you get rejected, you’ll know what you’re lacking of or what you need to improve. That’s when you start to grow!
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.