Welcome to Part 2 of this guide to healthy and happy Comfort Zone Stretching for Introvert Creatives.
In Part 1, I shared the (slightly vulnerable) story of my first and possibly last live media appearance.
And we left our plucky heroine in the doldrums of having pushed beyond her comfort zone – in the wrong way.
You’ll be pleased to hear that in Part 2, I have a happier ending for you…
Part 2: There’s more than one way to stretch your Comfort Zone…
Even after my traumatic radio experience, I didn’t give up on my book writing dream.
I joyfully discovered that there are numerous ways to promote a book.
And, even more joyfully, I began to notice that the strategies that aligned with my strengths and excitement, strangely worked out much better than the unhappy attempts at muscling through my comfort zone.
Which was a relief!
And the more this happened, the more I began to investigate how doing things that felt good and exciting and maybe-a-little-scary-but-in-a-good-way always seemed to ‘mysteriously’ turn out really well.
Whereas anything I forced myself to do in the name of stretching my comfort zone, inexplicably failed miserably.
Could there be a link….?!?!
I was eager to test my theory and about 18 months ago I made a decision in how I was going to run my business and craft my career.
I was going to…
Cue a chorus of But! But! But!!
But what about willpower?!
But what about discipline?!
But what about forcing yourself to power beyond that limiting comfort zone?!
These are the questions that my less-trusting inner voices have asked me many times over the last year or so.
But they have definitely been getting quieter and quieter.
And recently, something very interesting happened…
After declining all podcast invitations or interview requests over the last few years (see traumatic incident in Part 1), I was resigned to the idea that I would be one of those reclusive writers, mysterious and unavailable.
Who needs to share their actual voice on the internet or in public?
I could just stick to the written word, my favourite.
But then one day, as I was putting the finishing touches to a new online course, wondering what I could add to make the experience more enjoyable or inspiring for my clients, I had the flash of inspiration:
I’ll make a Welcome Video!
And then I remembered; I don’t do that.
I don’t appear in person, on video or even on audio.
I only write.
But I keep thinking about it…
What if I could learn to be good at appearing on video?
What if all I needed was practice?
Maybe, I could just try a little video in the privacy of my home office – to see just how bad I was.
So, I did.
I was really bad.
I cringed so much watching it that I swiftly deleted the file and did a Secure Empty Trash, lest there be any traces of it left in the world.
But the curious thing was, I was smiling.
I was even laughing at how bad I was on video.
There was no angst, no dread – just a playful recognition that this wasn’t my forte.
And that was OK!
But what was new was that I had considered it.
After so many years of declaring this wasn’t for me, I wondered if maybe there was a new version of me emerging, one who might – one day – not only appear on video, but maybe even enjoy it?
Maybe even be good at it!
However, I knew that day had not yet arrived, so I turned off the camera and decided that was that.
Until another thought popped into my head…
What about audio?
Video was still a leap too far, but could I record a short audio?
For someone who has always claimed that I write better than I speak, this was still alien territory for me.
But I had to admit, I was curious…
So I did a quick search on how to record your voice on your iPhone.
About 30 minutes later, I had a handful of snippets of my voice – not heard in the public realm since my radio misadventure – and actually… it wasn’t so bad.
I even began to enjoy the process.
If a snippet sounded a bit quiet or flat, I’d just delete it and rerecord it.
And weirdly, I got better and better every time.
After a little more recording and editing I had an acceptable 30-second Welcome Message that I could include in my new course.
I felt so proud of myself!
I felt a new confidence that I now had a new ability to do something that would help my business and my clients – and I could do it without angst or trauma.
I could even enjoy it.
And afterwards, I realised: I had, somehow, accidentally or automatically stretched my comfort zone.
But this was such a better way to do it!
No will power required.
No dread, no anxiety, no force, no battling innate instincts.
No need for nerves-quashing remedies of any kind.
It had been spontaneous, exciting and even fun.
And what caused this transformation?
Why did I suddenly become more open to sharing my actual voice when it had previously been an ordeal for me?
Well, I have a few theories that I’m working on.
(These are actually the very ideas that I am exploring in my new Creative Dharma course.)
I’m increasingly convinced that the Carrot of Excitement is a far more powerful, sustainable and healthy way to do life than the beat-with-a-stick approach.
But even without knowing the exact reasons why, I thought it might be helpful to share this idea that we CAN stretch our comfort zones – and enjoy the benefits of that – with our souls, dignity and self-esteem intact.
Comfort Zone Stretching with your soul intact
So I hope I have convinced you that there’s more than one way to stretch your comfort zone.
While it may be true that in order to grow we do need to stretch our capabilities and our image of our self, to try new things and reassess what we can do – that doesn’t mean it must be frightening, traumatic or unpleasant.
It IS possible to learn and grow and improve and become more of the person we strive to be – whilst smiling, playing and enjoying ourselves.
In fact, scientists even argue that we are less creative when we’re stressed and under extreme pressure.
So, this tale is for you if you’ve ever written off certain options because you dread the thought or know you’d be a bag of nerves.
Maybe there’s another way.
I hope my experience will show that there may be enjoyable ways to do things you’ve always said you could never do.
Things that, actually, you might just like to try…
(Even if you just practice in private, at first. Baby steps, baby steps!)
And if this sparks some new ideas or leads to brave new actions for you, I’d LOVE to hear how you get on. 🙂
PS If trusting joy and working with your innate tendencies sounds like your kind of growth strategy, you will LOVE what I’ve put together in Your Creative Dharma.
There’s an entire module devoted to Joy!
And the whole course is designed to help you harness the power of feeling good on the path to your Dream Career…
More details below, if this calls you…
“When you find your thing, it fuels you.”
~ Dana Wilde
If you’d like more soul-friendly ways to enjoy more progress and success in your creative adventures, Your Creative Dharma is for you.
It’s a joy-based digital journey to help you find your sweet-spot of creativity, purpose and success.
You can find out more in the free introductory ebook, The Joy of Dharma.
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