There are few things in life as challenging as making a big change, as Lori Osterberg explains. Read more from Lori on her website, Visions of Success.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided I was going to look for an evening exercise class that pushed me out the door after dinner rather than allowed me to fall to the couch and assume the normal routine. I searched my local area, and found a Zumba class that met three miles from my home, one that took place two nights per week. Perfect.
A little before 7, I changed clothes, headed out into the dark, cold evening, and drove to the address given. I drove around and around … no signs. I found someone to ask … he had never heard of it. I pulled up the information on my phone … it showed I was standing in the very place the class was to take place.
No class, I turned around and went home. Resume normal position, thank you very much.
Yet that small experience kicked up a whole lot of fears from deep within. I started asking myself a bunch of questions, giving myself a lecture on why I shouldn’t try new things.
Why did you even try to do something like that? You know you hate driving at night.
What if you can’t keep up with the others in the class?
What if you look stupid?
What if they’re all younger than you?
On and on it went, so of course I did what anyone in that situation would do. I put that thought out of my mind and never attempted to find the class again.
And I didn’t really think much about it. Until this past week when I had the opportunity to go out and try a new networking group. As the time drew near, I found those same questions popping up in my mind once again.
You’re going out at night again, really?
What if you get lost?
What if your car breaks down?
What if the women there are click-y and you don’t fit in?
What if they are younger than you? Or older than you?
The “what ifs” flew at me a hundred miles per hour.
But instead of listening to them, I went anyway. And as I entered the room, I was welcomed warmly into the group. I sat down next to a woman and we started a conversation. Two hours later, we were still talking. Sure, we mixed our time as we chatted with others around the room. But after a round of appetizers and more than one drink, I found myself with a handful of business cards, and one “lunch date” with a woman who had turned into a new friend.
Simply by putting my fears aside.
Why is it the older we get, the more set in our ways we become? When one thing goes wrong, it can quickly remind ourselves of why we should never have tried it in the first place?
I have found fears typically come from one of four places:
- An old experience
- An internal belief
- Self doubt
- Moving outside of my comfort zone
No matter how big or small an experience is, if it doesn’t go as planned, it can lead to self doubt. Then those deep seeded internal beliefs start popping up. And the questions begin.
Why bother with something that will stretch who you are as a person, when its so comfy and cozy right here with what I know?
Having recently moved to a new city, everything is new. I don’t know people when I walk into a room like I used to. I have to use GPS to find my way around. Finding a new grocery store has even pushed me way out of my comfort zone, learning which has the best selection, and where I can find the best prices.
While it doesn’t have to take something as life-changing as moving 1200 miles from your home town to help you overcome your fear, I do believe it starts with your comfort zones.
Questions can be ignored when you realize you are the only one’s asking them. Beliefs can be changed once you discover a new way of looking at things. Even self doubt can be overcome once you realize your thoughts are unmerited.
But where it all starts is with the willingness to move beyond what you did yesterday, and making the effort to say “what’s next”?
Wouldn’t you agree?