The feeling comes on so suddenly. It is my turn to present next. My palms start getting sweaty. My heart starts beating faster. My mind starts racing through the “what-ifs”. It kind of feels like an impending doom. At least this is how I used to feel when I was about to partake in one of my most uncomfortable activities: public speaking. Through practice and changing my perspective, I have learned to welcome these moments, gained confidence and valuable communication skills, and experienced GROWTH. My goal with this post is to help give you a starting point to do that as well.
Getting into a routine that you are used to where you find consistency, predictability, and safety is important. We need a measure of steadiness and consistency in our lives so that we can relax, unwind, and also plan for our future. Safety is one of our basic human needs; it is essential to our mental well-being. However, one of the greatest enemies to our personal, professional, and even spiritual growth is being too comfortable for too long.
The honest truth is that we can only grow when we delve into the void of the unknown – the place outside of our comfort zone. Most of the time, things that take us out of our comfort zones are actually completely safe, but our mind tends to perceive these events as a threat because we don’t know what will happen or how we will react to the new stimulus. Often, we will think of the worst-case scenario and let fear push us away from participating in something that will help us grow.
(Jumping out of planes in the Army always got me way outside of my comfort zone, but it was one of my favorite experiences every time I got the opportunity)
So, what do we do if we want growth, but have trouble getting past the fear that is telling us to turn and run the other way? Here are some tips:
- Change your outlook on Fear. All humans experience it, and there is no such thing as eliminating Fear, so stop trying. Accept it. Welcome it. Be grateful for it, for how else would you know when an opportunity to grow is knocking at your door? Turn it from a negative experience to a positive experience. Have a conversation in your mind when you start to feel the effects of fear come on. “Hello old friend, you must be here because I have an opportunity for growth. Thank you for providing me with this opportunity”. Learn to love these moments.
- Breathe. It seems simple enough but it will help you calm down and allow you to feel control when you may be going into a situation in which you feel you don’t have any control (the unknown). Start to take some slow, deep breathes with 3-4 seconds in through your nose and 5-6 seconds out through your mouth. Expand the stomach as you breathe in (diaphragmatic breathing). Here is a link to a good way to practice this: Click Here
- Practice doing something that makes you uncomfortable EVERY DAY. This will be different for everyone, but start looking for opportunities every day and then jump on them. They don’t have to be complex, time consuming, or physically challenging. A simple thing to do in the morning is take a 30-60 second cold shower at the end of your hot shower. You will also be surprised at how awake and energized you feel afterwards :)
- Know your WHY. Why do you need or want to grow from your current state? Be able to answer this question for yourself.
- Know that you have a choice, to grow or not to grow. Will you forget everything and run or face everything and rise?
As a Coach, my goal is to help people unlock their potential in order to maximize their growth. Developing a growth mindset is an important factor in living a healthy and fulfilling life, and we work with our clients to help develop that mindset inside and outside of the gym. I would love to help you reach your goals for growth!
“Everything you have ever wanted is on the other side of fear” - George Addair