Smiling at strangers. It’s sometimes used as an initiation exercise to practise getting out of your comfort zone.
Walking along, randomly smiling at strangers. Potentially looking like a bit of a weirdo.
It’s the first step in doing something that might make you feel uncomfortable, nervous, out of your depth.
Getting out of your comfort zone
It’s widely considered that ‘getting out of your comfort zone’ is one of the best ways to grow as a person.
If you keep on doing what you know, things that are easy and feel safe and certain, then you aren’t taking risks, and opening yourself up to new experiences. Therefore, you’re not going to do much growing.
You aren’t building your confidence by succeeding in doing things you’ve never done before, or never dreamed you could do.
You aren’t proactively looking to change yourself for the better.
It’s daunting and cringey
Back to smiling at strangers. Some people would really struggle with it, and would find it daunting and cringey. Why would you smile at a stranger? Won’t they think I’m a bit mad? Or want something from them? Or – shock horror – about to talk to them?! Even worse, what if they then strike up a conversation?
Have a focus
It’s really hard to force yourself to do something you don’t particularly want to do. But – if you can see the benefit, and where this action might lead you, it makes it easier. You now have a focus.
You’re not just doing it for the sake of it, you’re doing it because you know you need to change. You need to shake things up a bit. You can’t keep doing what you’ve been doing, as you’re not happy with the result.
It could be that long-term you want to be better at networking. Maybe you wish you didn’t care so much what other people think.
I find smiling at strangers easy, I do it all the time. I’m a smiley person. But for me, being out of my comfort zone looks like public speaking, live TV, performing. Stand-up comedy? Not in a million years.
I actually have no desire to be on TV or perform. But I’d like to not have that irrational fear of public speaking, the few times I need to do it. And I’d like to care less what other people think.
So – I sometimes have to present to groups of people, which pushes me back out of my comfort zone. I regularly give webinars, which sometimes still makes me anxious.
Caring less what others think
And I’m currently more active on social media, (well, LinkedIn), and experimenting with writing posts and video. Partly as a way to connect with more people about my coaching business and the things that are important to me. Partly as a way to care less what others think, to worry less about expressing my own opinion in public.
How about you? What do you find tricky that you know will help you long-term if you can get more comfortable doing it? What would be pushing you out of your comfort zone?
If you’d like to try coaching with me, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or here on LinkedIn.